The rigours of a long season are proving to be no problem to the scholars at City’s acclaimed Academy.
Players return to pre-season training at Platt Lane in early July, part of a development programme that is designed to get youngsters used to the demands that would be asked of them at senior level.
Over six months on and the energy levels at Platt Lane are as high as in the summer. Current scholars Joan Roman and Courtney Meppen-Walter were involved in this week’s game with the Elite Development Squad, and Under 18 team coach Steve Eyre says that the lads are enthusiastic every day because they can see the path in front of them.
“We remind the lads on a daily basis that they have got the best job in the world, and as staff we possibly have the second-best job in the world.
“They are reminded what a fantastic industry this is, and that there great opportunities here at Manchester City. That’s reinforced by giving them challenges, whether it’s on the training field, going into the Elite Development Squad and all the way into our first team.
“Week-by-week there’s always the match on the Saturday, but the bigger picture is that although the ultimate goal may be a couple of years away, we are trying to get them ready by making them rounded people. They are all focused on becoming professional footballers, there is never too much concern about motivation and keeping players interested.
We firmly believe we are at one of the best clubs in the country, aiming to be one of the best in the world, and the players know that the Academy is a big part of that so they are all highly motivated.
Steve, who also works the Elite Development Squad, adds that the work done at Platt Lane is not just about what goes on on the training pitch:
“I was an apprentice myself, and I know about how difficult it can be when you are away from home as a young player. It’s not just about the 90 minutes on Saturday, or the hours of training, there’s a lot more to it than that. They do a full day here from 8.30 in the morning so the staff spend as much time with them off the field as well as training, and that’s huge part of honing the all-round package.”