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Micah Richards, John Guidetti and the Death of Manchester City Holism

When Manchester City sacked Roberto Mancini after defeat in the 2013 FA Cup Final, the club spoke of instituting a “holistic” approach to management. On Mancini’s watch no former Elite Development Squad (EDS) player had been integrated into the first team at the Etihad Stadium. Despite the promise of many including John Guidetti, Denis Suarez, Abdul Razak and Karim Rekik, none had seen the pitch regularly. In fact, in Mancini’s final two seasons, when City finished 1st and 2nd in the Premier League table, recent youth players made a combined one league start (Karim Rekik vs Reading in December 2012). What is even more striking is none of the aforementioned players hails originally from the British Isles. However distasteful this may be City is not alone in adapting a policy also used many of the top English sides, to intake foreign players with EU passports at a young age and develop them as homegrown.

What was promised in the new era of City football was more stylish attacking football as well as more youth products in the side. However, the early returns on the later promise have fallen flat. This season since Pellegrini took over, Rekik was loaned was PSV, Suarez sold to Barcelona and Razak sold to Anzhi. Guidetti has yet to feature in a single match in any competition.  The one product of City’s Academy still in the side is Micah Richards whose injuries and dip in form since early 2012 have made him expendable. (Dedryck Boyota has featured in two League Cup matches this season but it seems he may just seeing out his contract by playing in cup competitions.)

The sentiment from older City supporters like myself who desperately are holding onto links from a bygone era, dictate that Richards will continue to feature for the club. However, he simply isn’t performing at an adequate level.  It’s sad but Micah Richards, the prodigal son is incapable of playing at this level any longer.

The one Englishman getting regular earned playing time in Pellegrini era is the Leeds born and bred James Milner has previously played for three other English clubs. Joleon Lescott has often been called upon due to injuries but his performances have been questionable and indications are that Pellegrini will gladly dump him when afforded the opportunity.

In the second half against Spurs with City leading 5-0, Pellegrini had two opportunities to give Guidetti his long-awaited Premier League debut. Instead the young Swedish striker was ignored for Milner and Dzeko with a game well in hand. Given this, it is difficult to see how Guidetti fits into City’s long-term planning. Considering only Guidetti is close to the first team squad at this time among more recent Academy graduates  the holistic approach we were promised will have to wait a while longer.

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  1. Milhouse

    November 30, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    What about Marcos Lopes? We’ll be seeing more and more of him as time goes by, unless he’s sold. And to me therein lies the problem. Players want to play and to be a 19 year old walking into the first team at City you’re going to have to be pretty special and its unrealistic to crank out multiple special players every year, this isnt FIFA14.

    I’d use the City EDS as a football factory for the Fulhams and West Hams and Norwich’s of the world. Train ’em at the City facilities and sell em at 19 or so to bottom table EPL sides as a money making venture to stack against FFP.

  2. jtm371

    November 29, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    M Richards should be playing Rugby as well as Wes Morgan.Silva and Navas over Nasri.sell Lescott and put Hart back in the net.Milner no opinion either way 20 to 25 minutes i guess.

  3. Smokey Bacon

    November 29, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Pellegrini is on such a short leash with respect to results, it’s no surprise he sticks with the players he knows and trusts. He obviously doesn’t care for the English contingent except for giving Milner 20 minutes every now and then. Richards infers to leave City as do Lescott and probably Hart too in the not too distant.

  4. Marc L

    November 29, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    “Death of Holism,” huh?

    Is that you, David Conn? Again with such immediate negativity. Give it some time. One does not construct a large and comprehensive edifice (as is the stated intent) overnight.

    Sven (!) Signing Guidetti has had one injury issue after another the past few years. Is he going to feature ahead of Aguero, Negredo, Jovetic, and even the utterly dire and whiny Dzeko? I personally would have Guidetti on one leg over Dzeko and his attitude of late, but that isn’t going to happen in the real world.

    The Tottenham example of not using him is somewhat chimerical. There was an enforced sub (Lescott) for Nastasic picking up a nick. I am not sure where you Dzeko coming on in the second half, because I seem to recall Garcia and Milner coming off for Aguero and Nasri (neither of whom we can even begin to contemplate picking up a nick) at 5-0.

    Was sorry to see Suarez go home to his native land and play regularly for the Barcelona B side, but one can understand him wanting to do so. I suspect the NYCFC might be able to serve as our “B” side in a year or so.

    Again, give it some time. Previously you wrote that the club lacked ANY coherent philosophy. NOW, a few weeks later, the stated philosophy has apparently died because “Boj” Guidetti has been unfit and a couple of other products are not featuring in the team ahead of what has to be (at full health) the most difficult side to break into in the entire League.

    • Marc L

      November 29, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      Okay, Guidetti on for Aguero or Nasri in the 75′ minute up 5-0 against Spurs.

      Could have done it, but I am not sure what would have been gained or proven. Seemed like Pellers was calling off the dogs at that point and not trying to utterly put Spurs to the sword.

      We all wanted to see the lad play. But again, how is he any better than 5th-choice striker. 4th if Dzeko is sent packing in January, as I sincerely hope occurs.

    • Flyvanescence

      November 29, 2013 at 2:18 pm

      Small point but i hope Jovetic when he returns to fitness is not used as a striker but in a wide-ish position or as a 10.

      Silva, Nasri and Navas are the only other creative attackers we have, and hopefully Pellegrini finally figures out that you cant always play 2 strikers.

  5. Mufc77

    November 29, 2013 at 10:27 am

    To say Richards is no longer capable of playing at the top level is ridiculous.

    • Marc L

      November 29, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      I wouldn’t say ridiculous. I agree with Kartik that Richards’ form has fallen off to where he can’t really be thought of as in the best XI under any scenario.

      He really has not looked very good at all when featured this year. At best he can deputize Zabaleta at RB.

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