If the big guns don’t fire, Pep won’t be scared to trust the young­sters

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Adrian Back @aidy­back

Be­fore Pep Guardi­ola walked out to the sounds of Oa­sis and re­ceived a huge ova­tion from ador­ing Manch­ester City fans, the Cata­lan’s first point of call was to check in on the academy where he spoke with the club’s bright­est young tal­ent.

Those young play­ers gath­ered round, lis­ten­ing in­tently be­fore be­ing put through their paces while Guardi­ola watched on at­ten­tively.

For while his im­me­di­ate aim will be to de­liver suc­cess, and by that we mean the Premier League ti­tle or Euro­pean glory, Guardi­ola is a coach will­ing to give youth a chance.

One of the main rea­sons he joined City was due to the work that had been done by for­mer Barcelona col­leagues Fer­ran So­ri­ano and Txiki Be­giris­tain.

City’s academy was over­hauled on their ar­rival and the youth teams have flour­ished, im­press­ing in Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tion and reach­ing the last two FA Youth Cup fi­nals.

“I came through the best academy in the world at Barcelona,” said Guardi­ola.

“If a young player has the abil­ity and they show me the pas­sion to suc­ceed, they will be in my hands. It all de­pends on their qual­ity and pas­sion.

“For me it’s good to see young play­ers grow­ing and imag­in­ing that one day they can play in the first team. It’s im­por­tant for the fans too be­cause they can feel spe­cial about that player.” At Barcelona academy, play­ers were given the chance to ex­cel as Guardi­ola pro­moted a num­ber from the B team.

Such was his con­fi­dence in Ser­gio Bus­quets that the im­mense fig­ure of Yaya Toure was al­lowed to de­part for City.

Of course, Barcelona had the tal­ent ready to be pro­moted and time will tell if Manch­ester City boast the same in their youth ranks. Cer­tainly they will know that with Guardi­ola at the helm they will be given a chance, some­thing Jose Mour­inho re­fused to do at Chelsea de­spite their academy dom­i­nat­ing youth foot­ball both do­mes­ti­cally and across Eu­rope.

There is no doubt that the for­mer Bay­ern boss will have been briefed on ev­ery player at the club, as is his metic­u­lous na­ture.

“First I have to meet my play­ers and know them. I have to hug them, kick their be­hinds and, af­ter, I need time to know them,” said Guardi­ola.

Ev­ery player will come un­der scru­tiny and aside from Vin­cent Kom­pany and Ser­gio Aguero, you feel there is room for im­prove­ment. It would come as lit­tle sur­prise if Guardi­ola looks within City’s ranks and finds tal­ent wor­thy of a chance to im­press.

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