Men's Team

Onuoha: Lewis's Sevilla impact a huge moment for City's Academy

Onuoha: Lewis's Sevilla impact a huge moment for City's Academy
Nedum Onuoha says that Rico Lewis’s superb full City debut and historic goal in Wednesday’s 3-1 Champions League win over Sevilla served as a ‘huge moment’ for the Club’s Academy.

On what was a special night at the Etihad, Academy graduate Lewis made history by becoming the youngest player at 17 years and 346 days old to score on his first Champions League start, beating the record previously held by Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema.

With Cole Palmer and Phil Foden also starting and Josh Wilson-Esbrand coming on as a substitute, it offered further compelling evidence of the amazing work being overseen by the Club’s Academy during the past decade or so.

And for former City defender and Matchday Live special guest Onuoha – who also came through the Club’s youth ranks – our latest Group G win represented another compelling landmark in the role played by the Academy.


“That goal and that performance - along with how everyone else played from the Academy - that’s a huge moment for the Academy,” Onuoha declared.

“I don’t think we can put into words how big that is.

“Because that means something to everyone coming up from the Academy now.

“If a player signs this week for the Under 8s and he’s watching somebody who has been on the path he has been on come out and play in this game, it speaks volumes.

“And it’s not like it’s any game – you are seeing youngsters play in the Champions League and to have an impact in the way that they did…

“They are being trusted amongst some of the best players of this generation and they look the part.


“How did they arrive there? They arrived there with their talent and understanding and the infrastructure they were put into place at this amazing football club.

“It’s a huge moment – we can dine on this for the next 10 years! It’s incredible.

“95 per cent of people who play football in England will never play in the Champions League – and Rico’s played in it and scored in it.

“A 17-year-old that has come through the Academy from the City to score the opening goal for the team... it’s a fantastic moment.

“For the Academy as a whole, tell me how that it isn’t a place to flourish and grow as a footballer and to set yourself up for a career going forwards whether it’s at City or somewhere else.”

Onuoha’s excitement was shared by fellow Sevilla Matchday Live special guest Karen Bardsley.

The former City and England goalkeeper pointed to the way Lewis despatched his goal as evidence of his technique and awareness.

“What I liked when he scored was there was a bit of disguise there,” Bardsley pointed out.

“The goalkeeper was probably expecting Rico to pass inside and instead there was a bit of disguise and it went near post.

“It’s about that spatial awareness as well and at 17 he’s got it.

“What a start to your Champions League career and what a night for him. He must be so proud - as must his family.”