First Team News

Video 1 Gallery

Follow Vlad to the top, Boy Blues told

Vladimir Weiss 0809

Vladimir Weiss 0809

Mark Hughes has told the Academy's bright young men that Vladimir Weiss's step up to the first team should be an inspiration to renew their own efforts to break through.

The teenage winger, a star of the FA Youth Cup victory in 2008, came off the bench in the 1-0 finale win over Bolton and made an immediate impression on the 47,000 City of Manchester Stadium crowd.

Weiss, whose father is the Slovakian national team coach, was delighted with his "perfect day", and his vow to work his way into a regular place next season was music to the manager's ears.

Blues boss Hughes said: "I think everybody saw how gifted he is and he could be a good option for us next year. He looks to have a real chance of becoming a top Premier League player.

"He needs now to build on that, work hard at his game and continue to progress on a daily basis. It's a goal for other young players at the club. They know they will get their opportunities if they apply themselves correctly."

Weiss has enjoyed a fine season with Glyn Hodges' reserves and has long been regarded as a natural to move up, but Hughes admitted: "He found it a bit difficult when he first came up from the Academy.

"Maybe it was all a bit too quick and frenetic and he had to learn very quickly, but I'm glad he has been able to understand what the demands are at first-team level. The hope now is he comes on in leaps and bounds.

"Against Stockport in pre-season he looked like a boy playing against men, and grown men chasing you down and tackling with force can be an eye-opener for a young player.

"It has taken him a while to get used to that and settle because it's a big step. But in the last month or so he has impressed and he was ready for his debut on Sunday. Now he needs experience with the senior squad."

First Team News

Super Stevie converts his critics

Stephen Ireland 0809

Player of the Year Stephen Ireland has admitted he knew he needed to win over some Blues fans going into this season - and senses that manager Mark Hughes has had to overcome the same obstacle.

First Team News

Top pro Bellamy gives beach the boot

Craig Bellamy training 0809

Craig Bellamy has given his holidays the elbow to make sure he is fighting fit for the start of the season after the quicksilver striker, 29, was forced out of the last six weeks of the campaign by a knee injury.

First Team News

Perfect day whets the Weiss appetite

Robinho and Vladimir Weiss 0809

Vladimir Weiss is still savouring his "perfect day" after his first-team debut against Bolton, but the up-and-coming winger is already planning to build on his Blues breakthrough next season.