Manchester City have got one over on their rivals before a ball has been kicked, after being named one the countries Elite football academies, reports the Manchester
Shortly after City secured the Premier League title from Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson took a parting shot at the way the blue half of Manchester focus on big name players rather than focusing on youth, however the Premier League have moved to award City’s academy Category one status in its new Elite Player’s Performance Plan.
Speaking to journalists at the end of the season, Ferguson said: “We know City are going to spend fortunes, pay stupid money and silly salaries. We know that happens. We can’t do anything about that, we are not like other clubs who can spend fortunes on proven goods, we invest in players who will be with the club for a long time, who will create the character of the club and the excitement for our fans.”
The new EPPP will allow City to sign 15-year-olds from across the country rather than only 90 minutes away from the Stadium under previous rules, which will allow them to be one step ahead of their Manchester rivals.
Manchester City have invested in a new training complex with facilities designed for youth players, with Head of Academy for Manchester City Mark Allen saying: “There is a very firm commitment. There is definitely investment at youth level, in terms of facilities and staff, and resource generally.”
Among the benefits of Category one status, City will be issued extra funding which will see them compete on an international level for player recruitment and can now rival the famed youth academies of Barcelona and Ajax.