MANCHESTER CITY

Pep Guardiola's Man City academy has black boots policy

Jason Wilcox, new academy director, spoke about the work that is being done at the Manchester club to keep the feet of their young stars of the future on the ground.

Pep Guardiola's Man City academy has black boots policy
Eddie Keogh REUTERS

Pep Guardiola has brought with him various customs and guidelines to the Manchester City project, ideas developed from his years in Spain and laterly in Germany. One of these has been the restriction of internet use in the training facilities. Another is to travel to matches, wherever possible, on the day of the game, not before. But further insights into the way of working at what is becoming a more and more influential club in world standings have been revealed by Jason Wilcox, the director of the academy.

Keeping their feet on the ground

Speaking with the Mirror, Wilcox spoke about the objective of the club to keep their young players very much grounded amid the fame and fortune that surrounds them. One simple rule for this is that all players under 18 cannot wear coloured boots - something that seems the norm in football leagues from professionals to five-a-sides - and must stick to plain black.

“There is nothing worse for me than to see a high-profile footballer who has no manners or respect for other people," Wilcox said, "Yes, you do have to be single-minded, but you can still be respectful to others. It doesn’t matter whether a boy is speaking to one of the cleaning ladies or the CEO, we demand that they show respect."

Jason Wilcox (left) has big ideas about Man City's academy.

Jason Wilcox (left) has big ideas about Man City's academy.

He continued: “We want people to represent Manchester City the right way – not just in a sky-blue shirt, but when they are away from the club as well.”

Pep's influence trickles through the club

The Man City Academy teams, that range from under-10 to under-18 levels, collected 15 trophies last season. And Wilcox spoke about the power of having someone of Guardiola's stature at the club:

“It gives the boys a real lift when Pep takes in a game or watches a training session because they know he is taking an interest in them. But we also try to harden players to the realities of the game. We take them to play in tournaments abroad – and I tell them that I expect them to go home with the trophy."