Guest Blog: Darren Huckerby
- 16 August 2013 09:24
- Posted by @mccarthy_mcfc
Former Blue Darren Huckerby looks forward to an exciting season at the Etihad, talks youth development and shares his thoughts on the birth of New York City FC…
It’s always nice to see the season back and I think this is going to be the most exciting we’ve seen for a long time!
There’s a lot of uncertainty this year - the top six teams have all made big changes with new managers and players coming in and I think it’s very hard to predict what way it is going to go.
In my opinion, Pellegrini has made some great signings. He’s added pace to the side and that’s the one thing the squad didn’t have. There are a lot of technical players, but adding a bit of pace in wide areas really helps. City fans are going to be looking forward to an exciting season.
As academy coach at Norwich, I’ve been following developments at the City Football Academy very closely. Youth development is massively important because if you have your own home-grown players they don’t cost you anything, we’re doing the same thing at Norwich with the academy lads.
Everyone’s making a push when it comes to youth and City are taking big strides forward which is great for the future. You’d rather have six or seven of your own players that you have brought through as opposed to paying £25-30m a player. There’s no doubt the City Football Academy represents a great opportunity for the club.
In terms of what is important at that level, I think determination to win games is a big thing and something that you have to get through to the lads at a young age.
Everyone loves to play the game and I think for young players, if everyone has the same technical ability, the determination to win games will be the difference.
You get them to 16 or 17 and you have to teach them how to win and that’s a big thing now because second best is no good. For a club like City second best isn’t good enough, so you have to get that winning mentality into the players - it’s win at all costs.
Another exciting move for the club this summer has been the announcement of MLS side New York City FC. Football, or soccer, in the States is an emerging market; there is no doubt about that. I played out there [for San Jose Earthquakes] for a little bit and they do love their football.
Every pre-season and every end of season teams go out there to play and there’s a market for it. If City can get a foothold in it, especially in a big city like New York, it bodes well for the future of the game.
It’s obviously not one of the major sports in the country yet, but if football can break into that bracket with American football, baseball, basketball and hockey, then like I say, it bodes well for the future.
I don’t think we will see many more Premiership teams following suit just yet, but if New York City FC is a successful model and it reaps rewards, then I’m sure other teams will start to think about it.
But for now, it’s back to the Premiership – here’s hoping it’s a good one!