EDS & Academy

2022 was one of our Academy's most successful years, says Wilcox

Jason Wilcox believes 2022 was one of the best years in the history of Manchester City's Academy.

We again lifted both the Premier League 2 and Under-18 Premier League titles meaning we became the first Club to not only win but retain both titles and the men's Premier League in the same season.

That sealed excellent first campaigns in charge for EDS Lead Coach Brian Barry-Murphy and his equivalent with the Under-18s in Ben Wilkinson. We also lifted the Under-17 Premier League Cup in 2021/22.

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However, the Academy Director insists that instead of trophies, it is the first team opportunities at City and via loan moves across English football that makes him most proud.

Academy graduates Phil Foden, Cole Palmer and Rico Lewis have all been a key part of Pep Guardiola's plans in 2022/23 while Taylor Harwood-Bellis, James McAtee and Tommy Doyle are just some of the players impressing on loan with Championship sides.

"I think it would be one of our most successful years," Wilcox admitted.

"When you look at the academy as a whole, we view our success on and off the pitch and we’re really pleased with what we’re doing in terms of developing good people off the pitch as well as good players on it.

"It’s easy sometimes to look at the Under-18s winning their titles and competitions and the U21s too, then you look at the transfer window which has been amazing but there’s an awful lot of great work that goes on producing good people and that’s really important to us."

While titles naturally attract attention from outside the Club, Wilcox insists it is the hard work throughout a child's development that has the biggest impact on the player and person they become.

Given the level required to play for Pep Guardiola's title-chasing team, not every youngster at the CFA can reach the Club's senior side.

However, Wilcox believes the Academy's ethos is setting players up for a successful career whether that be with City or elsewhere.

"We’re not judging our success on titles by any stretch, we’re here to maximise potential and produce as many players as we can for the world game and give them a good chance in life," said Wilcox.

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"With a good programme, good people, good recruitment, we go into every game to win. I would never shy away from that but you have to put the context around it.

"If we lose a football match but we’ve played our way and we’ve got the best players on the pitch then I go away happy. If we win a football match but I don’t see talent, that would concern me."

"The whole academy has pulled together, we’ve had success at younger ages as well. Under-9s through to Under-12s have won their futsal tournaments.

"It all starts young, winning tournaments and being in finals is really important for the kids. When they get to the senior level, they are going to be in those moments a lot."