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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 8, 2008

Hughes vows not to abandon youth system at City

Mark Hughes has insisted Manchester City will not abandon their successful youth policy.

Under coach Jim Cassell, City's academy has become the benchmark for the Premier League.

Well over 20 first-teamers have emerged through the Blues ranks in recent years, including Shaun Wright-Phillips, who rejoined the Eastlands outfit having been sold to Chelsea for £21million last month.

But there have been fears that a mammoth influx of cash from Abu Dhabi-based business tycoons, the United Group for Development and Investment, will block the route to senior status for City's homegrown stars.

Hughes denies his intention is to pack the City side with overseas imports. However, he does accept the demands for improvement on what the City academy has already achieved.

'The youth policy still has a role to play,' he stressed. 'It is important for any successful team to have a group of players who have an empathy for the club.

'We have that with the guys who have come through the academy. But we are not just going to fill the squad as a token gesture to the work the academy does. The quality of players has to be sufficient to play in the Premier League. That is what their work is judged on.'

While the most obvious example of the extra finance on offer was City smashing the British transfer record to sign Robinho from Real Madrid last week, Hughes has some good news for Cassell and his dedicated team.

For he also feels the City academy can benefit from greater resources to improve the standard of player they are producing.

'The work within the academy will continue,' he said. 'What we have now are the means to enhance that operation. The academy has been extremely successful in recent years. With extra funds it can produce even better players.'

Indeed, until January at least, City's academy will continue to form the basis of Hughes' first team.

While Robinho and Vincent Kompany were late additions to his squad, most observers would regard it as lacking in depth and as his striking department is still short on numbers, if not star quality, Hughes must rely on Daniel Sturridge and Ched Evans.

It is not known yet whether Robinho will be involved against Chelsea on Saturday as his World Cup qualifying commitments with Brazil mean he will probably not even meet his team-mates until Friday lunchtime, let alone have the opportunity to train with them.

Robinho scored last night as Brazil beat Chile 3-0 in Santiago after being played in an attacking trio with Luis Fabiano and Ronaldinho. Fabiano scored the other two goals.

'It is easy to play with Ronaldinho and Luis Fabiano when we have the ball,' said Robinho after the game. 'The problems begin when we don't have it as we have to move back and mark. Today, we managed to balance that as well.

'We took advantage of the opportunities we created. Thankfully things always go well for me against Chile.'

Brazil, two points behind South American group leaders Paraguay, now face Bolivia in Rio de Janeiro in their next match on Wednesday.

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