EDS & Academy

Academy review of 2022

By any measure it has proved another remarkable and historic 12 months for City’s Academy, with both our Elite Development Squad and Under-18s celebrating the successful retention of their respective national titles.

City’s Under-23s were again crowned PL2 champions in 2021-22 to cap what was a superb first season at the helm for head coach Brian Barry-Murphy.

And our exciting EDS squad has continued to go from strength to strength in the first part of the 2022-23 campaign with City impressively qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA Youth League for the first time in four seasons.

Meanwhile, we went into the festive break perfectly poised to try and make it three PL2 titles in a row, lying in third place in the table just two points off leaders Arsenal whom we face on Saturday when we return to action.

It has been a similarly memorable story across the past 12 months for our Under-18s too.

Ben Wilkinson’s exciting youngsters mirrored the achievement of their older contemporaries by first claiming the Under-18 Premier League North crown before then going on to lift the national title once again in impressive fashion.

Just for the good measure, the bulk of Wilkinson’s squad also lifted the Under-17 Premier League Cup in April to extend our impressive haul of silverware.

And going into the Christmas hiatus, City had rounded off a promising first half of the 2022/23 season by sitting in second place in the Under-18 North table, just two points off leaders Sunderland.

LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN: Our Under-18s retained the Premier League national title back in May with a 2-1 win at Southampton
LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN: Our Under-18s retained the Premier League national title back in May with a 2-1 win at Southampton

Furthermore, we had booked an FA Youth Cup fourth round clash at home to Brighton after an impressive 3-0 third round triumph against Blackburn.

Here, we reflect on another fine year for City’s Academy by checking out some of the numbers behind our successes in 2022 below…

Total wins - EDS

In 31 games across the whole of 2022, our EDS side racked up 19 victories in total across all competitions.

That equates to a win percentage of 61.29 with City suffering defeat on just three occasions. Seriously impressive stats by any reckoning.

Total wins – U18s

It has been a similarly successful tally for our Under-18s.

From a cumulative tally of 33 games across the whole of 2022, Ben Wilkinson’s side chalked up a superb record of 25 wins.

That equates to a hugely impressive win percentage of 75. 75 per cent

THAT WINNING FEELING: Our Elite Development Squad retained the PL2 title away at Leeds in April
THAT WINNING FEELING: Our Elite Development Squad retained the PL2 title away at Leeds in April

Total goals

Our EDS side found the net 82 times in 2022, averaging out at almost 2.64 goals per game across the calendar year.

Brian Barry-Murphy’s side chalked up 16 goals from our six UEFA Youth League matches with six more coming in our three EFL Trophy fixtures.

Meanwhile, we accumulated 60 goals in our tally of PL2 fixtures across the course of the calendar year.

Our Under-18s proved just as prolific in front of goal.

Ben Wilkinson’s side claimed a remarkable 111 goals from a combined total of 33 games to register a goal per game average of 3.36.

Largest winning margin

There have been no shortage of impressive displays over the course of a memorable and goal-laden 2022.

Our EDS served up a stunning 6-1 derby triumph away to United in a PL2 encounter in early November.

Meanwhile we began our UEFA Youth League campaign with a huge statement of intent, recording a remarkable 5-1 triumph away to Sevilla in the blazing Spanish sunshine in early September.

But City’s 7-0 PL2 victory at home to Everton back in May represented our biggest win of the past 12 months.

What’s more it came at the Etihad on the night our players were presented with the PL2 title and was the perfect way to celebrate such a magnificent achievement.

There have been myriad memorable displays from our Under-18s to savour as well.

An 8-0 thrashing of Wolves in early December is still fresh in the memory while we also hit Leeds for eight in February, recording a remarkable 8-3 success in West Yorkshire.

But the biggest win came on an unforgettable afternoon at the CFA in late April when our Under-18s demolished Newcastle 13-0.

Rise and shine

Arguably no one player more amply encapsulated the quality and impact of the Academy than the progress of Rico Lewis throughout the year.

The talented young right back began 2022 as the accomplished skipper of our Under-18s and was instrumental in leading City to both the Under-17 Premier League Cup as well as the regional and national Under-18 titles.

Having then impressed when deployed in our EDS side towards the tail end of the 2021/22 season, Lewis made such a positive impact in early pre-season training that he was included on our senior summer tour to the United States.

His impressive Stateside contribution then saw Rico subsequently cement his place in Pep Guardiola’s first team set-up with Lewis making his Premier League bow in August.

He then netted a maiden Champions League goal against Sevilla in November, becoming the youngest player to score in the competition on his first start.

And Rico then ended 2022 by making his maiden Premier League start - again to superb effect - away at Leeds.

Triple threat

Carlos Borges has gone from strength over the course of 2022 and has cemented himself as one of the key pieces of attacking armoury in Barry-Murphy’s talented EDS squad.

And the Portuguese winger perfectly illustrated his quality in imperious fashion by registering three hat-tricks across three competitions in the first half of the 2022/23 season.

First, Borges netted a brilliant treble in our 5-1 UEFA Youth League win at Sevilla.

Then he claimed another treble in our fine 3-1 EFL Trophy triumph away at Derby County in October.

And just for good measure, Borges hit four as we recorded a superb 6-1 derby win away at Manchester United in November.

Full stat breakdown – EDS

Premier League 2

Played: 22
Won: 14
Drawn: 6
Lost: 2
Goals for: 60
Goals against: 27

UEFA Youth League

Played: 6
Won: 4
Drawn: 2
Lost: 0
Goals for: 16
Goals against: 8

EFL Trophy

Played: 3
Won: 1
Drawn: 1
Lost: 1
Goals for: 6
Goals against: 5

Full stats breakdown U18s

Under 18 Premier League

Played: 28
Won: 21
Drawn: 4
Lost: 3
Goals for: 102
Goals against: 29

Under 18 Premier League Cup

Played: 3
Won: 3
Drawn: 0
Lost: 0
Goals for: 6
Goals against: 2

FA Youth Cup

Played: 2
Won: 1
Drawn: 0
Lost: 1
Goals for: 3
Goals against: 1