In a week in which FA Chairman Greg Dyke laid down his plans for the future of English football, fans are now analysing their clubs to see just how well they stand up to scrutiny from these plans. Notorious big spenders Manchester City are already a presumptuous target, and it is evident from a closer view that the Citizens have nothing to fear in the coming years.
Greg Dyke’s vision is to increase the percentage of English players in the Premier League from 32% to 45% by 2022. Dyke said this week that he believed that “bog-standard players” from overseas are blocking pathways for English talent. The revised rules set out by his commission aims to reduce the age stipulation for ‘home-grown’ classification that a player must be registered by the club from the age of 15—down from 18—to be classified as home grown. He also aims to achieve a minimum of 12 out of 25 first team squads to be home grown.
Whilst Dyke may have his vision set out for 2020, it does not require 20-20 vision to see the flaws in the argument that City will struggle to meet this criteria. By 2020, not one current Manchester City star will still be in contract. This means that the Citizens will be able to build a new team of English players in that time. Furthermore, the club has spent endless money improving its training facilities, and it seems that they will be able to produce their own English talent between now and five years’ time.
Many English fans are worried that the restriction of foreign players will have an adverse effect on the entertainment value of the Premier League, and will continue to worsen the already poor performance of English teams in Europe that there has been in recent years. However, this is unlikely to worry the current champions of England.
With the Blues currently on the brink of reaching their first FA Youth Cup final since the Mansour takeover in 2008, the clubs under-18 side is packed to the rafters with future stars of the game. Having watched the majority of the youth team’s campaign this year, it is clear that City have laid themselves strong foundations for the future, of which they will bear the fruit in a few years.
After watching the under-18s comfortably brush past Leicester City 3-0 in the first leg of their FA Cup semi-final, the club look set to repeat a similar result at the King Power stadium in just two weeks time. It may be seen as slightly ironic that if City make it to the final they will face a strong Chelsea side. With both clubs being seen as the ‘moneybags’ of the Premier League with a seemingly unlimited disposable income, it would be surprising to a large collective that both the sides could reach such a position with teams filled with both foreign and English players.
Whilst City have a line up filled with exciting, promising foreign youngsters such as Bersant Celina, Mathias Bossaerts, Theirry Ambrose, Jose Angel Tasende, and Jose Pozo, who will unfortunately not meet the criteria proposed, yet show a exciting prospect for the future of the club, City are also filled with an array of English talent in the likes of captain Kean Bryan, Ashley Smith Brown, Brandon Barker and Tosin Adarabioyo, all of whom are Mancunian born, as well as a smattering of English talent from across the country in the form of Angus Gunn, Aaron Nemane, Sam Tattum and Thomas Holland.
With a strong collective of English talent developing at an alarming rate and with increasingly impressive performances, it gives hope to the future of English football and to Manchester City as a club. The youth team has a fluid mix of English and foreign players which works incredibly well which is reflective of the almost certain FA Youth Cup final appearance and a quarter-final appearance in the UEFA Youth League.
It had gone unnoticed in the England under-19 squad announced this week that City and Chelsea had four players each selected for the national team with Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool all contributing no players at all and a solitary player coming from Tottenham. City starlet Ashley Smith-Brown scored a last minute screamer against Denmark to win the game 3-2 in England’s UEFA elite qualifying group game.
This statistic alone shows how well prepared Manchester City is for the future. They have the players and Academy in position to create something special. It is a mouth-watering prospect that they have five years to work with this crop of players, embed them into the first-team, and create City’s English core.
The media have tried to make it out that Manchester City are in deep trouble under these new restrictions, but once a little bit of research is done these claims are proven false. Greg Dyke has his plans set for 2020 and City will be very much prepared to deal with whatever is thrown at them.