Simon Davies is pleased Manchester City’s youngsters are facing the kinds of challenges that he believes will only aid their development.
There was much to celebrate for the Club’s Academy this week, with Lukas Nmecha selected in Pep Guardiola’s matchday squad to face Wolves, while the England trio of Curtis Anderson, Phil Foden and Joel Latibeaudiere helped the Young Lions to the final of the U17 World Cup.
Jacob Davenport was also involved in the first team’s preparations for Wolves and Eric Garcia was part of the Spain squad that played in the World Cup semi-finals in India, too.
Davies was therefore able to select three 16-year-olds as the EDS faced Bradford City in the Checkatrade Trophy.
The Blues lost 2-1 but the manager was pleased to have the opportunity to test his youngsters against the high-flying League One outfit.
“The football club is moving in the right direction,” he said. “We’re challenging our players at a very young age.
“We had two 16-year-olds on the pitch against Bradford. Lukas and Jacob were with the first team and we’ve got four lads playing in World Cup semi-finals.
“It’s great to see.”
First half goals from Adam Thompson and Alex Jones saw City trail at the break in Yorkshire, but there was a much-improved performance in the second half.
Rabbi Matondo finished off a fine counter-attack to pull one back and the boss felt that a more confident start may have bought a different result.
“We’ve enjoyed this tournament so far because it’s really challenging and I thought this was a very good game,” he added.
“We felt like we played with the hand break on in the first half, so I wanted to give them a bit more belief at half time and after that I thought they were fantastic.
“As a group, they showed real character to want the ball in tight areas, to show belief in each other and there were some really good individual performances too.”
The defeat leaves the City third in Group F, behind second placed Chesterfield on goal difference, with the two sides set to meet next month.
A win, or a draw and victory on penalties as per competition rules, would see Davies’ men eclipse the Derbyshire outfit and qualify for the knockout stages of the competition.
It’s a game the EDS boss is eagerly anticipating.
“If we play like we did in the second half today we’ll give most teams a challenge and it’s one we’re looking forward to.
“The lads will be up for it. They’ll know the permutations and we’ll see how they do on the night.”