Man City unveil training academy vision

    Story highlights

    • Manchester City have unveiled plans for a new team academy complex
    • The new development will be near the club's Etihad Stadium
    • The academy will include a 7,000-seater stadium for youth matches
    • It was also contain 15 football pitches
    English Premier League team Manchester City unveiled plans for a new training academy on Tuesday, as the club looks to build on its recent on-field success.
    City were taken over by taken over by Abu Dhabi billionaire Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in August 2008, and have invested heavily their playing squad since.
    Manager Roberto Mancini guided City into the European Champions League for the first time in their history with a third-place finish in England's top division last term, as well as leading them to an FA Cup triumph -- the club's first trophy in 27 years.
    Now the Etihad Stadium outfit are hoping to maintain their push for honors with the development of a brand new academy complex a mere stone's throw from their 47,000-seater home in east Manchester.
    A planning application for the project, which would boast 15 full-size and two half-size football pitches as well as accommodation for 40 youth-team players, was lodged by the two-time English champions on Tuesday.
    "Manchester City has entered a new phase in the long term strategy set out by the club's owner three years ago," read a statement on the club's official website.
    "Whilst the club already has a strong pedigree of nurturing young talent; the limits of what can be achieved with the existing facility have been achieved."
    The site will also contain a 7,000-capacity stadium for youth team matches, a separate building for the first team and a bridge linking the Etihad Stadium to the area -- which will be known as the Etihad Campus.
    "The development and recruitment of youth talent is at the heart of our long term strategy of building a sustainable football club for the future," City's chief football operations office Brian Marwood said.
    "The opportunity to build a world class facility supported by a well researched youth development plan would be a significant step in the realization of that strategy."
    Gavin Hamilton, editor of World Soccer magazine, told CNN that despite the City's financial investment in their youth set-up, only time will tell whether it will change their current strategy of signing big-name stars such as Argentina striker Sergio Aguero and Spain midfielder David Silva.
    "I'm always slightly suspicious when big clubs start investing in youth policies," said Hamilton. "Chelsea did it a few years ago and very few young players have come through the youth system there."
    Hamilton also cast doubt on City's ability to match the set-up of European champions Barcelona, who have brought a number of first-team regulars through their famous La Masia academy.
    "I'm always suspicious as well when clubs say they're going to copy Barcelona, because they are the great team of the moment and it's very fashionable to copy what they're doing.
    "But what Barcelona have been doing goes back decades, you can't just buy it overnight. Even if you're talking about a long-term development plan it's going to take decades."
    Hamilton also said that the successful development of young players is not necessarily achieved through financial investment, but through adopting the correct attitude to nurturing emerging talent -- citing Dutch champions Ajax as a perfect example of the right approach.
    "The clubs that are successful with youth policies are the clubs that don't necessarily spend a lot of money, but believe in youngsters and believe in putting youngsters into the first team at an early age.
    "So a club like Ajax, which is famed for its youth academy, wouldn't spend a huge amount more than other clubs. But what they do have is a commitment to putting youngsters out; blooding them at an early age and believing that if you're good enough you're old enough."