Thursday, 29 January 2009

Our hybrid team

I can't find the exact quote (it's 01.32), but I remember Hughes talking once of how he envisaged the City team of future years: a hybrid of Academy graduates and his buys. Today's starting eleven was only made up of only Academy players and Hughes buys: a sign of things to come.

The Academy players were Onuoha, Richards, Ireland and Wright-Phillips. Joe Hart is not technically an Academy player, but he arrived just weeks after his 19th birthday so he can be said to have, in a sense, come through the ranks at City.

While Robinho is sui generis, the other players were all distinctly Hughes buys: Bridge, Kompany, Zabaleta, de Jong and Bellamy. All competitive, athletic players in their 20s who nevertheless have the benefit of European and international football. None of Eriksson's young diamonds or Pearce's ageing pros here.

Tellingly, this was only the second game this season in which none of the starting eleven were signed by Eriksson. The other was the 3-1 loss to Chelsea, in which Jô played, who could be considered an Eriksson buy I suppose.

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