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Youngsters benefit from Thailand tour

Stuart Pearce Manchester City Season 0506

Stuart Pearce Manchester City Season 0506

Stuart Pearce is delighted at how his squad performed on the two-match trip to Thailand, and he is particularly pleased with what he has learnt about the younger players who went on tour.

The manager was keen to stress that the long trip was beneficial to him, and that as a result he now has a fit and focussed squad ahead of the Premiership kick-off, just over two weeks away.

"From a footballing point of view it was excellent," he says. "We've had two games against Premiership sides that both finished above us in the league last year. We probably, in all honesty, fielded the weakest sides out of the three, had to field a lot of youngsters and that for me was a good thing.

"We found out a lot about those youngsters from a physical point of view. The training went well, the games went well and I'm absolutely delighted with the trip."

Preparing for games after a long flight in excessive heat and humidity might have appeared to pose new problems for Pearce and his backroom staff, but according to the manager everything went as planned.

"The team's preparation was the only thing I was concerned about, and we ticked all the right boxes in that respect - the hotel, the food, the flights, everything was spot on. As far as I was concerned, the trip went very well."

Several products of the City Academy, such as Karl Bermingham, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Stephen Ireland and Micah Richards, made appearances in the course of both matches. All will have prospered as a result of this exposure, especially in conditions that they will not have had to deal with before.

"The vast majority of my squad will be used to playing in different countries and at different temperatures. But I had at least seven young players, and that might even be the biggest stage that they play on, against good Premiership outfits.

The versatile Richards was singled out for praise, and the benefits may already be showing themselves with his grabbing a hat-trick against Stalybridge Celtic just two days after returning from Bangkok.

"Micah Richards is 17 years old and he's getting a chance to play against Everton and Bolton. You can't buy that experience for young players, and when I ask for them to come in and join us in our squad next year, if they are good enough, they will know what it's like to rub shoulders with David James, Ben Thatcher and people like that."

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