Guardiola will go down in history as one of the best managers but he has failed emphatically in bringing youth academy graduates into first team fold.
You cannot argue Pep Guardiola’s pedigree as one of the finest tacticians the game has ever seen. Moreover, he has the tendency to accumulate silverware where ever he has gone.
From his exploits with Barcelona B, where he won promotion to Segunda Division, to title triumphs with Manchester City, Pep has won it all.
However, with like all evolutions, Guardiola has evolved. The philosophy has remained the same, only purified over time. And at the Etihad, the Catalan manager is in his element. The team replicates his ideas with perfection and the results have been reaped.
But there is one piece missing in Manchester. The team is made up of expensive purchases while the youth academy has been left to rot. Phil Foden is the only youth star to make it to the first team, but he is not a regular starter.
Is no one really coming through the ranks?
Foden is thankful for the experience. He believes it has made him a better player. Although first team minutes have not come his way as regularly yet. And the young English star is nothing but praise for Guardiola.
“You honestly can’t ask for a better manager in football. He’s so demanding, even me at such a young age, he wants a lot from me, that’s what I love,” Foden told Sky Sports about Pep Guardiola.
“He always wants to push me further. He makes you a better player, the best you can be. I’m thankful for that.
“He is a great guy, very down to earth. You can have just a normal conversation with him. If he sees a weakness in someone’s game, he will correct it straight away.”
Praise aside, it does not relieve the Catalan manager from his failure. It is this inability to bleed youngsters in the first team that has been a main criticism of Guardiola. No one came through Bayern or City’s youth and established themselves in the first team under him.
And it is understandable given the stakes involved. Clubs spend a lot of money and success is of paramount importance. Failure to do so, not only tarnishes your reputation and legacy, but also means you are out of a job.
While Guardiola will not stay a Manchester City manager forever, it is his tactics and coaching techniques that will live on. While many may not make the grade for him, even the lowest levels of youth will be entrenched in playing his way football.
This is the legacy Pep Guardiola will leave. A football philosophy that endears to the masses. Some sacrifices have to be made for greatness. Manchester City’s youth is that blood sacrifice.