Men's Team

Pep salutes ‘incredible Academy’ set-up

Pep Guardiola admitted he was delighted his young debutants played so well in the 6-1 win over Wycombe.

The City boss praised the six teenagers who made their senior bow but was keen to highlight the people and processes that have got them to this stage.


CJ Egan-Riley, Josh Wilson-Esbrand, Fin Burns, Romeo Lavia, Luke Mbete and James McAtee all played their part in the win over the Chairboys and Pep said: "First, they were helped by our professional players, but I am just going to say thank you very much to all the Academy.



“To Jason Wilcox and Enzo Maresca, who did an incredible job with them last season and of course with Brian Barry-Murphy right now and Carlos (Vicens).


“All of them did an incredible job. They have many good players, not just one or two. All of them are incredibly well-educated people. Thanks to their families, too.


“We have talented players. We can count on them absolutely. They train with us every single day. They don’t make bad faces; they don’t make you feel uncomfortable in your decisions.


“They just have the desire to be something in world football. With their skills and desire - they got it at this club. I am so proud to be manager of this club.


“Today we saw a little bit of what they can do. We know exactly how good they are. As a manager I can enjoy it. I can use them. Without the incredible effort of many people in the Academy it would not be possible.


“Maybe they were nervous, I don’t know, They were supported by Phil Kevin, Raz and supported by our people. Thanks very much for coming tonight.



“I know how special it is for our fans to see Academy players. They train with us every day.


“We know they can do it. It is a dream for them to play in this kind of game in this stadium. We told them to do what they do. They will be supported.


“We have a really good generation of players. This is one of the nights I like to be manager.


“Normally the best way to introduce these guys to a high level is one or two surrounded by the professional players but the circumstances is what it is.”


The boss also revealed the youngsters helped negate something of a defensive crisis going into the Wycombe clash…


“Today we had no central defender, just Ruben. Nathan was at his father’s funeral. Aymeric and John are better but still not able,” he revealed.


“Oleks is injured and Kyle and Ferna were not ready to play today. Joao should rest because of all his minutes. When that happens, that’s why you have the Academy. Why would you not use it?



“McAtee didn’t play and Edozie because it was good for Kevin, Phil and Raz to get the rhythm otherwise they would have played. I know them.


“They make a training session and listen. They know what to do. Enzo Maresca did an incredible job last season and made them better players.


“They faced one of the legends of English football (Adebayo Akinfenwa). It was a pleasure to meet him. It is not easy to do. All three, with Romeo, they did really well.


“They made mistakes, but that is part of the job. We will show them and they are going to improve. Josh played so well.




“These young lads have just one desire, to play football. The priority in their life is to play football. Sometimes when you become a footballer, it is not the most important thing in your life.


“I was lucky to grow up in Barcelona. Won the Champions League with seven players from the Barca academy. That is unique. These young players feel grateful, their families are grateful for how many hours the club invested in them.


“They have something special. Cole Palmer is an exceptional player.



“They have this rhythm because they can train with us. It would be better if they could play Wycombe every weekend. That would be the best development for these players.


“They should play every day against teams like championship or league one. That would be the best for English football, not playing against 17-19 year olds and winning 5-0 every single day.


“That’s not good for them, but I am not here to change anything in this country.

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