Manchester City’s football administrator Brian Marwood has admitted the club’s youth prospects have "a way to go" before they can become part of the first-team squad.
The club have heightened their focus on nurturing homegrown talent since the inception of Uefa’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules limiting their expenditure on transfers and, while he admitted the rules "came as a bit of a shock to everybody", Marwood concedes the club could not expect their owners "to continue spending at the rate we have been for the last three or four years”.
The club are investing heavily to develop their new Etihad Campus training complex ahead of the 2014-15 season, which will include facilities for the City Football Academy, but he emphasised the benefits would take time to bear fruit.
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He told The Independent: "If you look at the acquisitions we've made at the youth level, a lot of them have been around 15 or 16 and that's going to take some time. There is a way to go.
"We all hope we are going to produce something that's quite unique and quite special but ultimately it's about the people who execute the strategy. We are all very excited about building this incredible campus but it's about the people, not the buildings."
The club unearthed home-grown talents such as Stephen Ireland and Michael Johnson in recent years but did not see the pair cement places as first-team regulars, and their best current Under-21s include overseas players including Karim Rekik, Denis Suarez, John Guidetti and Jeremy Helan.
As Marwood outlined his attempts to create an environment at the City academy that would lead to well-rounded people who would make the most of their talent, he went on to point out the crucial role coaches play in the development of players.
He concluded: "I think one of the things we haven't done very well in this country is developing coaches. We hand a seven-, eight or nine-year-old to a rookie coach when in fact it's the most important coach he is ever going to work with.
“We need to look to get specialised coaches in the right area and they will stay there."