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Tuesday 01 April 2014

U21 Premier League Cup: Cole hopes to cap season with final spot

Manchester City forward talks about development ahead of U21 PL Cup semi-final v Burnley

Devante Cole has been with Manchester City for more than 10 years

Manchester City take on Burnley in the semi-final of the inaugural Under-21 Premier League Cup on Tuesday evening at Leigh Sports Village. The winners will take on in the two-legged final Reading, who got past Arsenal after extra-time in the other semi-final last month.

One of City's key players has been forward Devante Cole, who has been an integral member of Patrick Vieira's Elite Development Squad this season. The 18-year old has scored 12 goals in all competitions, a figure remarkable considering he has often been fielded on the wing in a 4-3-3 formation.

  Devante Cole
Date of birth: 10 May 1995
Place of birth: Alderley Edge
Joined Man City: April 2003

Now in his 10th year at the club, Cole is targeting a breakthrough 2014/15 season after a consistently excellent campaign as part of City's front three. Ahead of the Burnley match, Cole spoke to the City website about his development, his goals and being the son of a famous player

On how he came to play for Manchester City
I was eight and just playing Sunday League like any other kid when I got spotted by City. It was scout Terry John who told me to come down and train. The next week I went to Platt Lane and trained and then a few weeks later that was it, I signed. I've been here ever since.

On the familiar faces among the City Under-21s
I've been here with George Glendon, George Evans, Greg Leigh and Shay Facey since I was really young. Now they're still here with me all these years later - it's great to have people you know so well around you.

His strongest qualities
I like getting the ball and running at defenders most of all. I like to think my best qualities are being strong, being quick and being direct.

Who is his role model?
The player I modelled myself on growing up was Thierry Henry, without a doubt. I loved the way he would drift out to the left and just run at players and that's what I try to do from the other side.

Cole models himself on former Arsenal forward Thierry Henry

On this season
It's been a good season. At the start I went away with the first team, which was obviously great, then I came back and had to get myself in the team. I've done that, I've managed to score goals and now I just want to kick on. Last year was tough, I had an operation on my knee so I was always in, then out, in, then out, it was hard but now that's behind me I'm just cracking on.

On pre-season with the first team in South Africa
I was just training with the boys and Patrick [Vieira] came in and said that the manager wanted two players to take away to South Africa with the first team. So I was just waiting for the two names. He said,"Shay [Facey] and…" then I was shocked when I heard my name.

I was buzzing to get that chance to go away. It's so different with the first team, everything's sharper, everything's quicker and it was interesting to see the how they're treated when they travel. It was a great experience.

On what he learnt with the first team
When I was out there I spoke to Vincent [Kompany] who gave me a few words - I also sat with [Micah] Richards, [Jack] Rodwell and Richard Wright at dinner. Gareth Barry was also really good with me when we were over there. The whole experience sharpened me up. It showed me what I have to do to get to that level, how hard I have to work.

On being a sporting all-rounder
I used to play cricket in my school days, I was a batsman more than a bowler. I don't know if I would have been good enough to play professionally.

Cole's dad, Andrew, is the second-highest goalscorer in Barclays Premier League history

On advice from his father, Andrew Cole, the Barclays Premier League's second-highest goalscorer with 187 goals
When I was growing up my dad always told me just to enjoy it and never used to get involved too much but recently, in the last few years, he's been more hands-on.

He's always giving me advice because it's getting towards that time when I do want to look to break into the first team, or go out on loan somewhere to show what I can do and improve.

Kick-off for the U21 Premier League Cup is 7pm at Leigh Sports Village (postcode WN7 4JY) and entry on the gate is £3 for adults and £1 for concessions  (free for Man City seasoncard holders).

Under-21 Premier League Cup semi-final

7pm Manchester City v Burnley, Leigh Sports Village Directions

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Key Points

  • Man City take on Burnley in the Under-21 Premier League Cup semi-final on Tuesday evening
  • The winners will face Reading in the two-legged final
  • Man City Devante Cole talks about his development at the club