Manchester City unveiled their new state-of-the-art academy this week and to say it is impressive is an understatement.
It is the single best thing City’s owners have done for the club since taking over and it gives them the platform to genuinely build a future around.
However, The Mirror’s Ollie Holt seems to think it has severe implications on United, to the point where he feels the club should be embarrassed by City’s shiny new facilities.
“…But, compared to what is going on at City, they are starting to look a little bit last century,” Holt wrote.
“Their training base, also at Carrington, seems tired compared to what City have just unveiled.
“Their media facilities – their outlet on the world – are desperately outmoded compared to those of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and City.
“If I was in any position of influence at Manchester United, I’d be worried about the latest flood of information about developments at City. In fact, I’d be embarrassed.”
“If I was in any position of influence at Manchester United, I’d be worried about the latest flood of information about developments at City.
“In fact, I’d be embarrassed.
“I’d be embarrassed that a gaggle of ex-United players have chosen to send their footballing sons to the CFA, not to their alma mater.
“And I’d be embarrassed that City, once characterised as crazed spend-thrifts, are starting to look like the better long-term planners.”
With state-of-the-art, recently renovated facilities at Carrington, or the AON Training Complex if you will, United’s facilities are up there with the best. Rather than be embarrassed, United will be proud and happy at what they have built.
There is no question that City’s new facilities pose a challenge to United in luring the best talents in the future but what City’s money can’t buy is the elusive factor of history and proven success at United.
“Until City begin to give their youngsters genuine opportunities, their new academy will be nothing but a shiny factory for exports.”
Dating back to the early 20th century and through when the Class of ’92 trained on nothing but a pitch at The Cliff, United are a club renowned for building their foundations on the club’s youth.
Youngsters know that they will get opportunities at United if they earn them, something Louis van Gaal is showing this season in abundance. Until City can prove that to their academy graduates, the production line will stop before they reach the first-team.
City now have all the facilities they need to maximise the potential talent in youngsters but if they can’t match it with a driven desire to bring them into the first-team, the new academy will be nothing more than a shiny factory for exports.
After all, what’s the point in being given a new car for your birthday if you don’t know how to drive it?
The real winner in all of this is the kids of Manchester. In his presentation at its opening, Sheikh Mansour said 75% of players at the academy would come from local areas and when combined with opportunities presented by United, local kids will have more chances than ever in Manchester.