City's Under 18s coach Scott Sellars has paid tribute to the young Blues side that won the prestigious Al Ain International Championship in Abu Dhabi last week.
The youngsters were presented to the crowd before Saturday's FA Cup tie with Stoke along with the silverware won in dramatic circumstances last Monday. After beating a UAE representative side and Inter Milan on the way to the final, City were down to 10 men and behind 1-2 in the second half against host side Al Ain before levelling the game to take the final to a penalty shoot-out.
The spot-kick drills the lads had gone through in training were put to good effect, with the young Blues not missing any attempts to take the shoot-out 5-3 and with it the championship.
Former Newcastle and Leeds midfielder Scott was delighted with the way the squad responded to the demands of the 10 day trip both on and off the pitch, telling mcfc.co.uk:
"We told the lads from the start of the trip that we would treat them like young professionals, I know myself that as a footballer you have a lot of downtime, in hotels, waiting for games and preparing yourself. We went through everything like it was a first team competition, and the lads really took to it.
The squad's attitude and discipline was fantastic, and that showed in the performances. I thought they were as good off the field as they were on it.
...Scott Sellars on the Under 18s...
"We beat Inter Milan on the way so to then beat the host side, on penalties, and to win the tournament will give the lads a real boost for the rest of the season."
The recent first team debuts of Dedryck Boyata, Abdi Ibrahim and Greg Cunningham have provided another showcase for the good work done at Platt Lane down the years, and Scott thinks that the trio's rise to the senior ranks should inspire the next generation of talented youngsters at the club.
"It's important that the boys see that the pathway is there. Hopefully the first step is into the reserves now that the other lads have moved up. The key word is progression, the Academy is all about developing players to get them onto the next level."
The squad that won the Al Ain International Championship was: Eirik Johansen, Boris Korius, Conor Morrissey, Frederic Veseli, Sean Tse, Nils Zander, Joan Olle, Ahmad Benali, Harry Bunn, John Guidetti, Andrew Mitchell, Tom Skogsrud, Jeremy Helan, Anastasios Kapsalapodas, James Paris, Emerick Hippias, Bradley Robinson.