Man City's best academy graduates of all time: From Wright-Phillips to Foden

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Phil Foden Manchester City academy graduates GFXGetty/GOAL

Manchester City have been arguably the most successful English club for the past decade thanks to their ability to identify and recruit quality players. But they have also invested heavily in a state-of-the-art academy that is now churning out one talented youngster after another.

Of course, Manchester has long been a hotbed of footballing excellence. And despite a fierce rivalry with Manchester United when it comes to signing the city's up-and-coming stars, they have had numerous homegrown heroes down through the years.

For example, City's successful team of the late 1960s had a strong contingent of locally born players, while many members of the 1986 FA Youth Cup-winning side would progress to the first team and memorably thrashed Sir Alex Ferguson's United 5-1 three years later.

More recently, Pep Guardiola has helped Phil Foden make the step up to the senior side with impressive ease and the England international could soon be joined in the starting line-up on a regular basis by the likes of Cole Palmer, Liam Delap and James McAtee to follow.

Below, GOAL runs through the finest players produced by one of the game's great talent factories...

  • Alan Oakes

    Alan Oakes

    Nobody has worn the famous sky blue shirt more than Oakes, who made 676 appearances between 1959 and 1976.

    Although he never played for England, Oakes was one of City's most decorated players before the modern era, winning the title, FA Cup, two League Cups and the European Cup Winners' Cup.

    Incredibly, he went onto play for another six seasons in the third tier of English football before being inducted into City's Hall of Fame in 2005.

  • Neil Young

    Neil Young

    He grew up less than a mile from City's former home Maine Road and would go on to become a club legend.

    Young spent 10 years at City, making 415 appearances in one of the club's most beloved sides alongside Colin Bell, Francis Lee and Mike Summerbee.

    Of his 108 goals, the most iconic were the winner in the 1969 FA Cup final win over Leicester and opener in the European Cup Winners' Cup final victory over Gornik Zabrze.

  • Joe Corrigan Manchester City 1981Getty

    Joe Corrigan

    Corrigan had the misfortune to be an England goalkeeper in the same age as Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence but still won nine international caps, as well as the love of City fans.

    He joined the club at 15, started his first game at 18 and, in total, made 603 appearances during his 15 years at the club.

    After retiring, he became a successful goalkeeping coach at Liverpool and West Brom.

  • Peter Barnes

    The son of 1956 FA Cup winner Ken Barnes, the winger joined City as an apprentice and made his debut as a 17-year-old in 1974.

    Two years later, he was named the PFA Young Player of the Year after scoring in the League Cup victory over Newcastle and making his debut for England.

    He went on to win 22 caps but he was sold to West Brom a few years later before rejoining in 1987 after a short spell at neighbours United.

  • Paul Lake

    Who knows how far the exciting young talent would have gone had a cruciate knee ligament injury not cruelly cut short his career?

    Seen as the most talented member of the brilliant side that won the 1986 FA Youth Cup, Lake was talked of as a future England captain.

    A player equally comfortable playing in the heart of the defence as he was in midfield, he was on the verge of a first international cap in 1990 when he suffered the serious knee injury. Despite undergoing many operations to regain full fitness, he sadly retired six years later.

  • Shaun Wright-Phillips | Manchester CityGetty

    Shaun Wright-Phillips

    The son of Arsenal legend Ian Wright, Shaun's emergence represented a real boost for the fans as City looked to re-establish themselves in the Premier League at the turn of the century after a period in the doldrums.

    At 5ft 5in, he was small in stature but big in heart, and was an England international by the time he joined Chelsea in a £20 million ($24m) deal in 2005.

    Wright-Phillips never truly settled at Stamford Bridge and was welcomed back to Manchester three years later and would go on to help City claim their first trophy in 35 years when they won the 2011 FA Cup.

  • Daniel Sturridge

    Daniel Sturridge

    The striker joined City's Academy as a teenager and played in two FA Youth Cup finals before making his first-team debut as a 17-year-old.

    A new contract went unsigned and he joined Chelsea in 2009 before moving on to Liverpool in search of regular game time, which he got, starring alongside Luis Suarez at Anfield before injuries began to hinder him.

    Sturridge has two Champions League winners' medals to his name, and was part of a Premier League title triumph at Stamford Bridge, while he also lined out for England 26 times. But his final years have petered out.

  • Micah Richards Manchester City

    Micah Richards

    A much-loved TV pundit now, Richards was a much-loved Academy product in 2005 when he broke into City's first team, scoring a memorable injury-time equaliser against Aston Villa in the FA Cup.

    A year later, he became the youngest defender to play for England and he established himself as a regular at the Etihad.

    He was to play a major part in the 2012 title success but injuries took their toll later in his career at City, Fiorentina and Aston Villa.

  • Kasper Schmeichel

    Kasper Schmeichel

    Peter Schmeichel will be forever associated with Manchester United but during his one year at the Etihad, City signed up his son.

    Kasper started the 2007-08 season as first-choice, keeping three clean sheets in three games as City went top, but he would soon lose his spot to Joe Hart.

    Real success was to come away from the Etihad, with Schmeichel winning both the Premier League and FA Cup at Leicester, while he is also closing in on 100 caps for Denmark.

  • Kieran Trippier

    Kieran Trippier

    Joined City at the age of nine and helped them win the 2008 FA Youth Cup but never got onto the pitch for the first team.

    Trippier has had a hugely successful career, winning La Liga with Atletico Madrid, playing in a Champions League final for Tottenham and becoming only the second Englishman after Sir Bobby Charlton to score in a World Cup semi-final.

    Sadly, that was on the losing side, but Trippier is still going strong and is now trying to help Newcastle end their 55-year wait for silverware.

  • Jadon Sancho Manchester City

    Jadon Sancho

    His huge potential was spotted by Guardiola but Sancho never played for the first team, with the winger's attitude considered a cause for concern.

    Borussia Dortmund swooped in to sign him and Sancho starred in the Bundesliga, becoming one of the most exciting young talents in world football, as well as a full England international.

    Manchester United spent £73m ($89m) to bring him back to England but his first season was mixed and more will be expected working under new manager Erik ten Hag.

  • Phil Foden

    Phil Foden

    Still only 22, Foden already has more medals than any player to have come through the academy and go on to play for the senior squad.

    Youth-team coaches saw his quality from a very young age, as did Guardiola, who gave him his debut as a 17-year-old.

    With four Premier League titles in the bag and his best years still to come, Foden's potential is, as former City assistant coach Mikel Arteta once said, limitless.