Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has launched a staunch defence of the club’s youth policy, having been criticised recently by Gary Neville.
Having watched Man City younger Phil Foden turn in a star performance in the Manchester derby friendly last week, Neville quipped that the 17-year-old was at the wrong Manchester club if he wanted the chance for regular first-team action.
He’s at the wrong Manchester club for getting a sustained opportunity. City have a lot of great kids. They should be playing… https://t.co/KgN9xUHclY
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) July 23, 2017
Guardiola has taken exception to this and fired right back at Neville, essentially telling him to stay out of it. Pep, speaking to reporters ahead of the friendly match against Real Madrid on Wednesday night, insisted that Foden will play a role in the remaining friendlies and won’t be put into the team this season just because he is a young talent:
“Which is the right club? It’s a question to Gary Neville.
“My history is here. I’m not going to put young players in the squad because they are young. They will be in the squad because they have quality. I don’t have problems with that.
“The club is working well in terms of the academy. There are many players with good prospects for the future. We will be patient with those guys. They are going to train with us most, or part of, the season.
“Phil Foden is going to play in the next games. He has quality to play in that team. I’m so happy to have him. He’s a Mancunian, a City fan, a humble guy. He’s a fighter. He looks skinny but he’s a strong guy.
“I thought even the journalists in the summertime were on holidays but I realise Neville is not.”
The young midfielder was voted academy player of the season in the last campaign, and while it is still very early for him to be pushing for the first-team, he will undoubtedly have confidence in his ability to buck the recent trend and establish himself in the senior squad.
On this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish Football podcast, we caught up with Sean Maguire and Kevin O’Connor ahead of their move to Preston, and review the League of Ireland clubs’ European campaigns.