Youth foundation

Pep Guardiola defends Manchester City youth record after Brahim Diaz leaves

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola defended his team’s youth development record after academy graduate Brahim Diaz left for Real Madrid, saying he only wanted to work with committed players in the club.

Diaz, 19, completed his move to the Spanish capital on Monday, following in the footsteps of England winger Jadon Sancho, who left City in 2017 for Borussia Dortmund in order to make a huge impact in the German Bundesliga. City failed to keep the two players at the Etihad stadium due to a lack of first-team opportunities, but Guardiola said the youngsters have to be patient if they are to make a breakthrough at one of the clubs. elite Europeans.

“They are winning the opportunity (to play) on the pitch, but you have to take a look at all the big clubs in Europe how many young players are in the first team,” Guardiola said at a press conference ahead the City League Cup semi-final. first leg against Burton Albion on Wednesday.

“Young players need time. David Silva, for example, was loaned to others before he became what he is now, before he came to us. Some have patience, some trust what the club wants to do and some don’t. England Under-21 playmaker Phil Foden engaged his long-term future with City last month, after receiving public support from Guardiola this season.

“As I have said many times, I don’t want people who don’t want to stay here,” added the Spanish coach. “We’ve done with Brahim everything we’ve done with Phil (Foden) and with Jadon – important players and we’ve done absolutely everything. The only one who decides to stay is Phil.

Foden is set to play against Burton, with Guardiola having almost his entire squad available to face the demands of the Premier League and National Cup competitions this month. Guardiola has said French full-back Benjamin Mendy, who is on the sidelines with a knee injury, could return to first-team action in two to three weeks.

“He trains alone,” added Guardiola. “Two weeks, maybe three weeks (until he comes back). Everyone is in good shape. City return to the league against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday as they continue to chase Liverpool, who are four points clear at the top. of the rank.

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