Thursday 13 February 2014
Manchester City's Under-14s team showed qualities befitting of their seniors in retaining the National Premier League title at the weekend.
"It's nice when all the hard work comes together"
Man City Head of Academy, Mark Allen
In the final against Chelsea at the London Soccerdome, City recovered from being at the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline at half-time to win 3-2 and seal the title.
Eight teams gathered in London for the finals split into two groups. In Group A, Arsenal and Norwich City progressed to the semi-finals at the expense of Bolton Wanderers and Middlesbrough. City topped Group B with a 100% record and were joined in the last four by Chelsea, who finished above Newcastle United and Reading.
In the semi-finals, Chelsea advanced past Arsenal, while Man City overcame Norwich convincingly to set up a final that was won in thrilling fashion.
"Victories like these are a testament to the hard work of everybody in the Academy – players and staff," Manchester City's Head of Academy, Mark Allen, told mcfc.co.uk. "The boy who scored the winning goal in the final broke his leg earlier in the season, and the hard work, energy and commitment of everybody across all the different departments meant he was able to return to fitness in time to play.
"It's nice when all the hard work comes together. We have been champions for two years now, which shows the consistency is coming.
"All the age groups are doing really well. The under-16s have had some fantastic results this season, and the U18s are top of the league. It all bodes well for the future. This is a big victory for the whole Academy, not just the U14s. I'm delighted for everybody, because everybody played a part."
The Premier League Under-14 National Tournament is part of the Youth Development stage of the Games Programme in the League's Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP). Under the EPPP £320m is being invested by the league and clubs to improve youth development including the development of more home-grown young talent.
At the Youth Development stage, children are undergoing the transition to 11 v 11 matches and taking part in more regional, national and international tournaments to build competitiveness and learning from a wider range of similarly talented youngsters.