Manchester City Youth Players Poised for 1st-Team Action Next Season

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Manchester City Youth Players Poised for 1st-Team Action Next Season
Jan Kruger/Getty Images
Elite Development Squad boss Patrick Vieira observes his team against Chelsea.

Manchester City easily have the deepest squad in the Premier League. Going beyond that, though, we see loads more talent waiting in the wings in the club's youth ranks.

City's Elite Development Squad, under the guidance of former player Patrick Vieira, had quite a fantastic season. They finished fourth in the U21 Premier League and qualified for the playoffs, where they lost to Chelsea on penalties.

Vieira's charges also made it to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Youth League, narrowly losing to eventual runners-up Benfica at that stage. Meanwhile, the U18s won the North Division of their age-group league but fell 1-0 to Everton in the playoff finals.

City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak spoke in his postseason interview of how impressed he has been with Vieira's work with the EDS as well as the youth setup as a whole.

There are plenty of reasons to agree with him.

Part of his and Sheikh Mansour's vision for developing the club centers around growing the academy, and that's coming to fruition. The level of talent continues to increase, and the results are coming along with it. We could easily see some of these young stars emerge as legitimate first-team options—some already have.

Looking forward to next season, let's examine a few EDS players who look likely to break into Manuel Pellegrini's squad. For consideration, players must be on this squad list provided by City's site.

One notable name missing here is that of John Guidetti. The 22-year-old Swede is already listed as a first-teamer, though that's a bit of a stretch. Truthfully, Guidetti's first-team opportunities at City went out the window with his freak injury issues two seasons ago.

When he was ready to get back in action, Roberto Mancini never gave him a chance. Indeed, his unsuccessful loan stay at Stoke this winter led to criticism—per Yahoo Sports—from no higher a power than Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Moving on to better news…

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