EDS & Academy

Harwood-Bellis eyes perfect FA Youth Cup ending

Harwood-Bellis eyes perfect FA Youth Cup ending
Taylor Harwood-Bellis says winning the FA Youth Cup would be a major moment in his young career.

The centre-half is in line to captain Manchester City Under-18s against Chelsea on Monday evening, having led the team to a 4-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers in the semi-final.

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He was one of three players involved in that game to have played first team football, but whilst he is now aiming to establish himself at senior level, the prestigious Youth Cup is something he would love to add to his CV.

“It is a huge game for the academy and for myself after last year and wanting to win it and it not quite going our way,” he said.

“Just because I’m a bit further ahead in my career than the younger lads, it still means just as much as me to win the competition as an academy player who has been here so long.

“It is a massive game and it would be massive for the Academy and the Club to win the competition.

“Everyone wants to win it. You saw that against Blackburn, it was a tough night.

“Every club wants to get through and I’m very excited to be involved in it. It’s massive for me in my career and my life.”

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Cole Palmer was another player with first team experience to feature in the semi-final and the midfielder is someone Harwood-Bellis has grown up with in the Academy.

The same can be said for Tommy Doyle, who missed the Blackburn game due to senior commitments and it remains to be seen whether he will be available for the final, but Harwood-Bellis says lifting the trophy with friends he has progressed through the Academy with would be the perfect end to his youth career.

“We’ve always said that the bond that we’ve had, especially in my age group, with Tommy and Cole and players like that, is so strong,” he added.

“We’ve always wanted to win a big tournament like this. To win it with my best mates and people that I have come through the academy with for seven or eight years would be massive.

“To round off our academy career with the Youth Cup, there’s nothing better we could do.

“We’ll do everything we can to work for each other to make it a night to remember.”

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Chelsea stand in City’s way and boast a remarkable pedigree at Under-18 level.

The West London side have won five of the last six finals, beating City on three occasions and Harwood-Bellis is under no illusions as to the size of the task ahead of Carlos Vicens’ side.

“Chelsea have got top individual players and the squad is full of international players,” said the 18-year-old.  

“It will be tough. They’re very attacking with their full backs so there will be times when we are under pressure and have to defend.

"You have to defend in games against any club. It is about how you get through those little storms.

“The group is so together, we have confidence we can get through any defending we have to do and score goals at the other end.

“There will be some challenges but we’re confident we can get the result.”

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