Man City don't give presents – Guardiola insists young players deserved their FA Cup chance

January 5, 2020 0 By JohnValbyNation

The Spaniard acknowledged the importance of the club’s academy stars in Saturday’s win against Port Vale

Pep Guardiola says he is not in the business of giving “presents” to Manchester City’s academy stars and believes Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Phil Foden can have an impact at first-team level.

Harwood-Bellis, 17, and Foden, 19, started and scored in a 4-1 FA Cup win against Port Vale on Saturday , while 18-year-old Tommy Doyle appeared as a substitute.

Foden is a more established name than his teenage team-mates, having already started in the Premier League, but manager Guardiola urged his young players to keep working hard for their chances.

“Of course, it is important [to have local young players] with Taylor and Phil – and Tommy,” Guardiola said. “[Doyle] played a month ago in the Carabao Cup and played a few minutes today.

“It’s not because they are English – we believe they can do it because they are good players. We don’t give presents. They have to earn [it] for themselves.

“In these games, we have space for everyone. But from what we have seen so far, they have the quality to help.

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“Young players have to not talk too much, to train, to work and to listen and learn and learn and learn. They have to learn.

“The minutes are good for their development, and then the future is in their hands. The privilege for them has to be in this club and playing minutes with this team.”

City invited Vale into their dressing room post-match, and Guardiola added: “It was a pleasure. I saw the manager and the sporting director.

“It’s nice for us to host these clubs and for their players to realise we are the same. We play at a different level but dreams are dreams.”

The victory came after a congested end to 2019 with City forced to play two games in two days and their manager was happy to see his side start 2020 in the right fashion. 

“We are in the next round after an incredible amount of games,” Guardiola said.

“We played seriously. In the first half we struggled a bit, but the second half was better. I think in general the team did okay.

“Our game was there all the time. In the Premier League we are far away, we have to focus on taking second position. In the other comps we go game by game.”