rss twitter facebook mobile

How do our youth teams look in comparison to City’s?

The last week or so has seen both our U-21 and U-18 play home games against our rich neighbours from across town. That gave us an opportunity to see how we compared to a team that is throwing money at all levels of the club.

First up was the U-21, played at Salford. Before the game both team were level on points in 7th and 8th positions in the league, both trying to close the gap on leaders Fulham and get into the semi final positions

The game started brightly for United with just 2 minutes on the clock before a great chance was created. Lingard ran on to a through ball and drove to the edge of the box and shot but it straight at the City keeper. It did look as though Lingard should have taken the ball closer in but its all easy with hindsight.

That bright start wasn’t to last and City began to knock the ball about with precision and were buzzing in and around the United 18 yard box. On 8 minutes, a City free kick from the very edge of the right side of the box was played into the area and smashed towards goal where Sam Johnstone pulled off a terrific save to knock the ball out for a corner. Johnstone is a much improved player over the last 18 months and he has no doubt benefited from his loan spells and he should be ready for a long career in the game.

Sadly for Johnstone his good work was wasted as from the resulting corner City scored with a free header, very poor marking from United which cost us dearly.

For the remainder of the first half, the game followed a similar path as City kept the majority of possession and definitely looked the more likely to score but the half time whistle came with no added goals and City going in with a 1-0 lead.

The second half was a mere 90 seconds old before the complexion of the game changed when United grabbed an equalizer. The ball was played out of United’s defence to Petrucci in the centre circle. He turned and laid a perfect pass into the path of Jesse Lingard who did the same as he had done in the first couple of minutes in the first half, by driving to the edge of the box and this time his crisp well placed shot beat the City keeper and into the bottom corner of the net.

We hoped that the goal would give United the boost they needed but the opposite happened as City seemed to up their game a notch and continue to create chances

United were level for less than 10 minutes before Devonte Cole, son of United striker Andy, laid the ball on a plate for an onrushing team mate who netted with the aid of a deflection.

Sadly for United, City continued to dominate for long periods of the remainder of the game and saw out the remainder of the match without too many dramas to grab a 2-1 win.

Its difficult to judge teams or compare them at U-21 level as so many players are missing through loan spells. United, for instance, had to play with a lone striker in Will Keane as we had no one else. He too has now gone out on loan, to QPR so it remains to be seen who will play up front in the coming weeks and months.

The U-18 game was also a home fixture with City coming into the game on the back of 12 straight wins and top of the table, whilst United’s form has been patchy. United were also without our 2 top scorers and main strikers, James Wilson and Ash Fletcher, This meant we had to play some U-16 players and mostly first year trainees whilst City had a team full of final year trainees. The difference is there for all to see in regards to physique, stamina, decision making and general experience

With a very strong wind behind their backs City wasted no time in getting a foothold on the game with United struggling to get out of their own half. This went on for the first 10 minutes before City grabbed their inevitable goal but it took a howler from United to gift it too them.

The ball was played back to United keeper Dean Henderson and with all the time in the world to clear tried it hit his clearance quite low to keep it blowing straight up in the air in the strong wind. All he managed was to roll the ball to the feet of an unmarked City player inside the area who gleefully put the ball into the net.

The game carried on in the same way until half time with United struggling to put any kind of passing moves together and had not mustered a single shot on target.

We hoped that the gusting wind would help United now it was at their backs but it wasn’t to be as city carried on regardless and dominated proceedings. For all their total domination of possession, we went into injury time just one goal down and that from a horrendous mistake. Sadly, City did grab another in injury time to give the scoreline a more realistic look.

It truth, and it hurts me to say it, City were on a completely different level to United at this age group. I would have expected them to be slightly better due to age difference but the gap between them was vast with United having nothing to shout about at all.

About ManUtdReserves

ManUtdReserves writes for the United We Stand fanzine. Follow @manutdreserves on Twitter.

View all posts by ManUtdReserves »



  1. Unagi says:

    City and Chelsea built their teams on quick input of cash.

    They are not blind that youth is important, they put cash in it as well…

    They were lucky enough to get rich investors who allowed them to build in couple seasons what at United was built for over 20 years.

    I cannot blame Chelsea or City for spending shit loads of money when they have them and can spend them…

    The current status is that we have to start thinking how to catch up to them…

  2. shaan says:

    Unagi, Unfortunately even the young ones that we have are not at par with other top sides. Either we need to change the youth level with some strategies and formations or improve our scouting system.

  3. Marko Maric says:

    I know only one thing, that SAF few months ago said that Citeh overtaken us in youth academy. They have better scouts, better youth, better most of things..

  4. sir matt martin says:

    Well they have the money, most of their Academy coaches are from the Barcelona academy yuth term.

  5. shaan says:

    @Sir Matt. Right now it may sound like a small thing but it is really scary if you look at the bigger picture. Money + Resources + intelligent people can have a deadly outcome.

    @ United we have Moyes + Round + Neville. I am sure we can match any world class side.

  6. sir matt martin says:

    You right bro, i think United has already made a mistake in the past, what year did the glazers took over at united again 2005/2006 ? and how much are they worth $2billion and no matter what some persons myth think but, truth be told Manchester city fc, have come to stay.

  7. Redfrog says:

    Yesterday, I watched rush. A good movie about the rivalry in formula 1 between Lauda and Hunt.
    Sports is now just a money matter. I would have liked to live fifty years before when football and sports had value in general.
    Now it is more money you have better you are. And that just is what is happening with us and City. Philosophy doesn’t count anymore no because there is not but because you can bye it. That what city have done, imitating Barca instead to have there own one. We can all hopes for the sake of football and more essentially human being that it will backfire. But in the state of world, where people doesn’t care about values but just want to buy, buy, buy a new car, a new tv, the new IPhone 65, because they don’t feel they have any value without it and cannot exist.
    At the biggest change you can see that in Formula 1. Before it was between men risking there life ; an association formed by gentleman’s and adventurers. Now it is about having the best car, the best team, the more money. Of course, it always have matter, but now that is the only thing that matters. When I read and watch about pilots stop their car to save another pilot to save his life : that was sport, that was sportsmanship.
    Now we have massive entities in sport and the game is to spend more money then your neighbor and sometime to have someone or a philosophy to fight that (Ferguson, barca, dortmund and Klopp). Of course you can’t escape money if you want success but it is different to use it while you have your philosophy and make money your own philosophy.

  8. shaan says:

    @Redfrog. It’s a sad state really. But think about it how many footballers play for entertainment and for the love of sport? May be we can count them on our fingers. Most of the clubs have the philosophy of a business man. All they care for is money. Why do they buy big players, why do they pay millions in wages think about it.

    As you rightly said gone are the days when professionalism was the most important thing. Although money has spoiled the game however, to stay in the game and at the top we too need to spend.

  9. sir matt martin says:

    Think of what United has gott to lose if they dont make to the top4 and get a CL spot, for the first time in history, it pains me to say that Top 4. United stand to lose about £250m next season the sky deal money if thy dont get top4, and half of united supporters are in asia china, korea, japan. they stand to lose another £100m every season again if they dont make top4 again. we are £475m in dept all, Thinking of the Leeds united.

  10. Redfrog says:

    As much as I love football, I watch it because of United not because of football really.
    Even if I prefer football then rugby as a game, rugby have show that they can keep tradition and sportsmanship. Look that in rugby even if the referee is wrong players won’t moan about his decisions because he is the referee. And when I see that a country of 4millions people like New Zeland plays the best rugby and are the best in this sport it warms my heart( At the top of that I used to live in NZ for a year and I love so much this country which is not spoiled by money and want to keep their values like ecology).
    Of course money is a need to succeed but all this rich owners makes it disgusting for me. The worse is not them doing that is people being utilize, being treated like shit by capitalists, being stoled by them and doing nothing. When you see that more then a half of health is being possess by very few (which have their ass licked by the governments ) and that this people want just more (which is absurd) and doing nothing for the community or the planet it is just disgusting to me.
    And charity is the biggest of jokes among that. Do you know that bill Gates company which take care to invest in charity make their money by investing in various company included WEAPON companies ? If you want to do good think would you help killers to kill ? How logic is that ? That is the capitalism logic. Money is money no matters how it is make.

    For us United is no money ! Unfortunately for our owners we are just cash influx

  11. shaan says:

    @Redfrog I couldn’t agree more. There have been instances in the past where a player could/would have moved in one direction but money power pulled in to another Hazard and Willian (name?) comes to my mind. Sportsmen have lost class and seems like people have sold their souls to a devil.

  12. Tommy says:

    I was at both games and whilst I hate to admit it city were full value for their 2 mini derby wins I must say you cant compare where both teams are at the moment, Most of Uniteds best under 21 players are out on loan and as such the under 18s are stepping up to the Under 21s which is making both squads considerably weaker, Although I must admit citites under 18 team is formidable at the moment, but really its not much to worry about in the long run, what is most worrying is the amount of foreign players in the academys, Fulham who are currently top of the under 21 league fielded 10 foreign players when they played United under 21s, something is not right their, Their has to be atleast a quota on foreigners at these levels surely!

  13. sir matt martin says:

    He is always at evry Match!!! SMH

  14. ashtheking says:

    I dont know about others but I seriously hope Chelsea and Jose dont win the League. I know this may sound crazy coming from a united fan but I wouldnt mind CITY winning. I dont want Jose’s boring brand of football to be encouraged. City winning the league could motivate us like it did in last season. It would also motivate other new managers to play attacking football than play a boring football like Jose has been doing. I was speaking to a Cheslea fan today and even he said Mourinho’s football is boring to watch.

  15. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    Jose’s brand of football is the BEST brand of football. It is how football should be played. PRAGMATICALLY. designed to fit any situation. Fuck City. I would take Jose ANY DAY of the week over City. Who cares if the football is boring to watch. If its winning them games that’s all that matters. We aren’t exactly in the position to criticizing another club’s football when we suck in every facet of the game. If it wins them games, then more grease to his elbows.

  16. shaan says:

    Well if it’s not United then it can be Cardiff.

    @Ash. Really? I hope you are not serious.

  17. Fletch™ says:

    United lost a big leg up in academy development with a rule change limiting recruitment of non local kids a few years back. That has since been “corrected”, but the recruitment network has not kept up.

    Tommy I get your point, and agree, but the rule I am pointing out even stopped the likes of Becks from london and kids from Ireland etc.

    For me, the big worry is loss of top coaches all across the team. and whether the Glazers have people in position who understand the football at the moment.

    This comment hits the nail on the head for me.
    shaan 11:46
    @Sir Matt. Right now it may sound like a small thing but it is really scary if you look at the bigger picture. Money + Resources + intelligent people can have a deadly outcome.

  18. The_red_devils says:

    But How many players have city produced that play for their 1st team??

  19. Gary Mitrovic says:

    Redfrog, I think a lot of people (especially the older crowd) have fallen out of love with football for all the reasons you mentioned. We only watch it because it’s an addiction and you still enjoy the football side of it. It’s all the bullshit that comes with it now. The media coverage is 24/7 to the point where you become sick of hearing about it. It’s game full of hypocrites and primadonnas.

  20. ashtheking says:


    So what if our team is performing badly that doesnt mean we United supporters cannot comment or share our opinions about other clubs. Its very surprising that You enjoy jose’s brand of football, sorry but its not my cup of tea. I would prefer a attacking playing club wins the trophy. Look I respect Jose and he is a very good manager but even with players like Hazard, Oscar , Mata (In first half of season), WIllian etc, he has been playing a boring football.


    Yes I am serious, I prefer watching attacking football. Look I will never like city, I hate them but that doesnt mean we are bias. They have been thrashing club and moreover it will give our club more motivation to perform better next season. Imagine Sir ALex’s reaction when he sees the club he hates the most wins the trophy, Moyes would himself want to prove to many, he would want to play attacking football himself. I dont want to see Jose wiining with the boring football his team plays, Even my chelsea mate said that Chelsea are boring to watch. Jose would be like” Look I came back and won the tittle with my boring (Or smart acc to some) tactics, who knows he may also take a dig at Mata. I cant see that. Atleast City winning will fire up our boys and Manager. It always happens in Milan. When AC milan were winning trophies , Inter used to take it as a motivation. Same Vice versa. Look it is just my opinion, You may not agree, I am ok with that.

  21. Chris says:

    @ashtheking: So you haven’t watched United for about five years then? Say what you like about Mourinho but the idea that his teams are boring went out the window when he was at Real IMO, last nights game Chelsea were great on the counter attack and played City exactly as a team should to get a result. Fuck me United have been guilty of some of the worst ‘anti football’ ever seen, remember our CL semi final against Barca? Those were two of the most turgid, depressing games that I have ever seen but hey, we won.

    As for who wins the league personally I would like City to, in times past United and City fans went to games together when one or the other was playing away, families/mates were a mixture of red or blue, but all of that has been forgotten because of the tribal hatred that has grown inside football, instigated mainly by knuckle draggers who don’t know any better.

  22. Unagi says:


    I agree with you, although as long the rule does not regard all teams in Europe it can go to trash for me.

    Doing this only in England will make English teams weaker in Europe.

    Same goes with FFP. I am actually in consent with what Mourinho said. That FFP will kill teams that want to be competitive against City. Shaiks have big resources and big friends network. The say to friend “you invest 100 mil in City, we shall invest in your business”.

    I think City so far is doing pretty good job in maneuvering the FFP rules.

    @the red devils.

    So far they produced none, but probably in future they will produce some. They started much later than United.

    I think running those biggest clubs must be hella intense and with that all micro management may get people mad.

    The thing is if we would have petro dollar owners we would be happy when they would spend, unfortunately so far we have to envy opponents for that and hope for the best we have.

    The positive side is that United owners are doing great marketing job with Manchester United brand. Of course I am not going into details where that money goes, still gives some stability to the club.

    Football is not any more about values but about money and making more of those.

  23. Unagi says:

    Examples of City, Chelsea, Monaco, PSG, to some extent Real Madrid and Barcelona show how mony may allow clubs to catch up gaps of bad management in the past.

    Without money in football United with youth system would be miles ahead of most of the top team in Europe, probably Ajax would still be among strongest clubs (or would be even better then they were in 90s).

    With money you can very quickly build good team for current season, and with more money you can quickly start good academy system bringing top talent that will give you revenue in future.

  24. TheMancRedDevil says:

    Remember quite a few years ago now (maybe four or five) when my eldest lad was playing for a local team, there was a “football fun day” or something put on at one of the local parks. He asked if I’d take him to it so we went along.

    There were hundreds of kids there and the organisers put them all into teams and made it into a mini-tournament.

    Everyone had a great time and the organisers there got to see a lot of what the local area had in terms of talent amongst the age groups 8-14 (or whatever it was – my son would have been around ten at the time).

    Who was the sponsor of it all? Manchester City.

    Little alarm bells went off in my head way back then and I have to admit that I couldn’t fault what City were doing. They were getting out there, giving the kids a good time and scouting for their own future benefit (there would have been more of these around the local area, too).

    On top of all this, it becomes a good PR exercise for City. Those young kids will have known that they had a great time that day… all thanks to Manchester City.

  25. sir matt martin says:

    Clueless moyes is not the type of manager that will move this club forward, i just hope he dosnt rob off on the Academy too. All the transfers in the world will not fix United’s problem, because
    it is the incompetence of clueless
    Moyes that is destroying players’
    winning mentality, and tactically
    hopeless on the pitch. Did you all
    see what Mourhinio did against
    City, his team choice, his tactics? If Moyes was in charge of Chelsea, I am certain that City would have won comfortably.

  26. Unagi says:

    @sir matt

    WE sometimes need some brake from Moyes stuff, despite how you see his place in the club…

    This is interesting thread about how youth systems are developed.

    I think the 900+ posts in other tread on Moyes where enough and probably the topic will come back after next game, so let’s all get some air and discuss other stuff.


  27. shaan says:

    @Unagi. mancreddevil. it is scary for us as a supporter. cause we know that city will grow in the future. I have worked in the middle east and I know the sheikh family ia not crazy theu always surround themselves with smart and efficient people. Last I heard that city has 25 young players on loan.
    even if they don’t make it to the first team imagine the money they will generate by selling these players. and the guys from Barca are no mugs. They will change the face of man city.

  28. sir matt martin says:

    Its nice having kids come out of the Academy James Wilson for Example has only recently turned 18 but already has already made several Under-21s appearances. He has played at a number of age levels already this season and scored in all of them.

  29. sir matt martin says:

    United will face Real Madrid, AC Milan and Liverpool in pre-season tournament next season.

  30. Tommy says:


    I can see your point both ways mate, on one hand only been able to sign players from your area might effect some of the top clubs but the other side to the argument is clubs liek Crewe rely heavely on bringing through youth players and selling them on for a profit, Its how they survive as clubs, so at least with this rule we know the futuer of smaller clubs is secure although it means we tend to go and bring youngsters from abroaed!

  31. Tommy says:


    What I mean is a quota for the youth teams, I dont believe having Fulham under 21s playing United and them having 10 foreigners playing is right personally, young kids in England dont stand a chance of coming through which is a shame really, a couple of foreigners in an under 18/21 teams is ok but practically a whole team of foreigners is taking the piss at that level, just my opinion tho

  32. Unagi says:


    I totally agree with you. And would support such rule in every country.

    Sadly, money rule football, and teams to get better will take the best from around the world to youth teams.

    And to take lesser evil to the account I understand United doing similar to keep up with the rest. You cannot play game of sticking to principals when everyone around you are pissing on principals.

    It even sounds harsh as I write it, still I wish United to be there among top teams.

  33. Redfrog says:

    @shaan…about loan players : Chelsea and us are doing it a lot too. Personally I think it is killing football and smaller clubs. Big clubs take away the best young players from others club and they don’t have even to pay to do that as it is not still professional football (before 16 I think)…or they pay little compensations (as it has happened to us with Pogba which I remember because Pogba’s club went in law to get something)…then they loan them (Chelsea is winning the league in Belgium I think because they have 8 loanees there) and sell them if they are not good enough for them.
    This system is a business where players are meal (and happy to be as long as they get money) and where small clubs have almost no chance to build something. It is a capitalism where big clubs are companies or industries killing the small hard working people.
    Do you know Reims FC in France? This is a nobody club now but they were the first two times finalist of the champions league against Real Madrid and had very good players like Koppa (who moved to Real Madrid after) It is a very good club with very good philosophy but now can’t do nothing because it is a small town and don’t have money (But get back to League 1 and staying there which I’m proud of.
    I’m sad because we will probably never see Ajax in champions league final again because money rule everything and they are in a small league.


You must be logged in to post a comment.