EDS & Academy

FA Youth Cup: Taylor backing Vicens’ Under-18s

FA Youth Cup: Taylor backing Vicens’ Under-18s
Manchester City Women’s boss Gareth Taylor is hoping his former youth team charges can finish the job they started more than a year ago when the FA Youth Cup semi-final is finally played this Friday.

Taylor had presided over our Under-18s side before taking over from Nick Cushing as the new boss of City Women last May before the global health pandemic halted the tournament’s progress.

Carlos Vicens has since taken over the role and has the task of guiding the youngsters past a difficult Blackburn Rovers side in the semi-final this Friday, with the winners facing Chelsea or Manchester United in the final a few days later.

“I still have good conversations with Carlos and the team,” said Taylor.

“The team he has available are a decent group. Blackburn are always a tough team to play against and there are a couple of other good teams in the other semi-final.

“It won’t be easy – but it never is to win any competition.”

Taylor admits he would have liked to have seen the competition conclude while he was still in charge.

City had reached the last four under his and Vicens’ management team and were looking for a first triumph in 12 years.

City have the unfortunate record of having lost eight of the ten FA Youth Cup finals competed in – more than any other club.

“It’s a shame it wasn’t concluded last season – the team was in good shape, coming up against a Blackburn team in the semi-final,” said Taylor.

“That was originally an away fixture at the time with a home tie in the final. That’s gone out of the window now with it being at a neutral venue, but it’s still a good opportunity.

“It’s taken a while to get the tournament going again and I thought at one point it wasn’t going to continue, but it’s good that they are concluding it.

“It’s going to be played over a period of three or four days and they've had to sort some details out – there are lads who are now first-year pros, who have the potential to play in the competition.

“It would be nice for the Club to win it for the first time in a long time, although outside of that, there are other objectives about player development – making sure players are breaking into the first-team and pursuing careers elsewhere.

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“As for playing behind closed doors, it’s probably a bit more like a normal Academy game.

“Normally, you’d play the FA Youth Cup semi-final with your family, friends and supporters there.

“We’re also experiencing that in the women’s game. It’s something we have to make the best of. “Hopefully, people will be tuning in from home, supporting players as much as they can.

“My only advice would be to go and enjoy it. Give a good account of yourselves, have a right good go and leave everything out on the pitch.”

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