Wilcox reveals three key aims for Manchester City Academy in 2021
Written by Simon Austin — January 4, 2021
MANCHESTER CITY Academy Manager Jason Wilcox says he has set his staff and players three key targets for 2021.
Wilcox, who has been in post for three years, told City’s official website: “We had an all-staff meeting and the three messages were maintaining our high standards, being caring and demanding, and achieving more with less.”
The 49-year-old went on to explain: “The aspiration for us in the Academy is that we keep nudging the quality of our product forward, to produce players who are able to play in a Champions League final, because that’s where we want our first team to be.
“This is a huge challenge, but we have an unbelievable opportunity of trying to achieve that. So (we need) the level of technique, the decision-making, the intelligence, the temperament to go and play on the big stage and be able to deal with the pressure and bounce back from setbacks combined with social excellence and professionalism.
“If we can keep nudging the product forward and being bold and being brave, without the fear of failure, then I think we’re going to make some big strides and it will be interesting where we are in five years’ time."
Wilcox said being caring and demanding meant "caring about our business, caring about ourselves and our families, and caring about the players and their families" while also being "demanding about the highest levels of performance, whether that’s on or off the pitch."
And achieving more with less will entail "more first-team appearances, more international call-ups and more tournament wins, but with less access time with the players, less access to the amazing facilities and less meetings.”
City had an impressive season at youth level in 2019/20, including winning the Premier League U18 North league (pictured below), but the impact of homegrown players in their first team has again been limited.
When Pep Guardiola arrived at the club in 2016, he insisted the Academy had been been one of the drivers behind his decision to choose City.
“One of the reasons I decide to come here to Manchester City is because I knew how good they are working in the Academy and with the young players,” the Spaniard said.
However, data from the CIES Football Observatory shows that City are 16th in the Premier League for percentage of first-team minutes from club-trained players this season.
Club-trained players were defined as those who had been with the club for at least three seasons between the ages of 15 and 21.
Seven per cent of City’s minutes to December 1st 2020 were from club-trained players, opposed to 27.5% for top-placed Brighton and 26.2% for second-placed Chelsea.
Manchester United were third with 24.3%, while Fulham were bottom, with only 0.9% of minutes coming from club-trained players. Phil Foden has played in 11 of City’s 16 Premier League games in 2020/21, with five of those appearances having been as a sub.
In 2017, City carried out research showing that 83% of players in the quarter-finals of the Champions League over the previous 10 years had played first-team football from the age of 17.
% of minutes for club-trained players in 2020/21
- 1. Brighton 27.5%
- 2. Chelsea 26.2%
- 3. Manchester United 24.3%
- 4. Arsenal 21.1%
- 5. Crystal Palace 17.1%
- 6. Southampton 14.9%
- 7. Burnley 12.8%
- 8. Tottenham 12.8%
- 9. Liverpool 11.9%
- 10. West Brom 11.9%
- 11. Sheffield United 10.5%
- 12. West Ham 10.3%
- 13. Aston Villa 9.6%
- 14. Leicester City 9.2%
- 15. Leeds Uniited 7.6%
- 16. Manchester City 7.0%
- 17. Newcastle United 5.9%
- 18. Everton 2.8%
- 19. Wolves 1.7%
- 20. Fulham 0.9%
(Minutes in Premier League to December 1st 2020. Stats from CIES Football Observatory).