Rico Lewis is one of 14 City kids to be given debuts by Guardiola.

Where are they now? The 14 Man City teenagers given PL debuts by Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola is the most successful manager of his generation and he’s not been shy to give teenagers the chance to shine in his trophy-hoarding era at Manchester City.

Guardiola has often given youth its chance at the Etihad, with City’s frequent dominance allowing the boss to give minutes to his less-experienced squad members.

We’ve checked in on the 14 teenage debutants of the Guardiola era and what they’re up to these days.

Aleix Garcia

Garcia made eight first-team appearances under Guardiola, including his Premier League bow against Bournemouth in September 2016, but was a perennial loanee before leaving for Dinamo Bucuresti in 2020.

In 2021, he spent half a season at Eibar before re-signing for one of those loan clubs, Girona. He has become an integral part of the La Liga side’s midfield as they sit second in the league.

Gabriel Jesus

Jesus began his Premier League journey with Manchester City in January 2017, after a transfer from Palmeiras for a reported fee of around £27 million.

Tipped to usurp Sergio Aguero as Guardiola’s starting striker, the Brazilian often found his starting opportunities were limited despite his potential.

Jesus scored 95 goals in 236 appearances across all competitions for City before being sold to Arsenal for £45million in the summer of 2022.

After an impressive start at the Emirates, injuries and inconsistent form has left Jesus often starting matches on the bench once more.

Phil Foden

As this lot demonstrates, it takes something truly special for an academy graduate to break through and make it at Guardiola’s expertly-coached team of superstars at City.

“Phil Foden agrees to sit on the bench for six years,” read Sun journalist Neil Custis’ infamous tweet when the rising star signed a contract at the Etihad in December 2018.

And in 2024? Foden has notched 85 goals and 52 assists in 267 appearances for City, won five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, four League Cups and the Champions League.

He’s also played for England 33 times. Penny for the thoughts of Custis now?

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Brahim Diaz

Diaz only ever made 15 appearances for City – five in the Premier League, the first coming against Newcastle in January 2018 – but had shown enough in the youth set-up to be deemed worthy of a £15.5million move to Real Madrid.

“This is the happiest day of my life, I couldn’t have a better gift for Three Kings Day [6 January in Spain],” Diaz told reporters after signing for Real Madrid in 2019.

“I had three options after deciding to leave Manchester City. One, play at Real Madrid, two, play at Real Madrid and three, play at Real Madrid. It was impossible to go anywhere else.

Diaz is now back at the Bernabeu after no fewer than three seasons out on loan at AC Milan. He received one cap for Spain, back in 2021, but has now switched his international allegiance to Morocco.

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Lukas Nmecha

Both Lukas and his sibling Felix showed lots of promise during their time in City’s youth set-up – but they had to move elsewhere to fulfil it.

The former made two appearances at the end of City’s 2017-18 title-winning season, before four loans away from the Etihad.

He joined Wolfsburg in 2021 and is now a Bundesliga regular with seven caps for Germany – although injuries have limited the striker to just three appearances this season.

Eric Garcia

After making his league debut in the 8-0 spanking of Watford in September, Garcia played semi-regularly for City over the next two seasons but returned to Barcelona in 2021 in search of more regular first-team football.

Sadly, the defender also found first-team opportunities increasingly hard to come by at Camp Nou.

After making the short journey to Girona for a season-long loan spell, Garcia found himself at the heart of an unexpected title challenge – he’s played 28 times for the La Liga upstarts who have secured qualification for the Champions League in 2024-25.

With the club still urgently needing funds, Barca might have to cash in on their asset although Xavi wants him to stay in the Catalan capital.

Tommy Doyle

Doyle had City heritage in his family, being born to Scott Doyle and Charlotte Pardoe, children of former Manchester City players Mike Doyle and Glyn Pardoe.

After making his Premier League bow in the victory over Newcastle in July 2020, the midfielder went on to make 11 appearances for City in all competitions across the EFL Cup, Champions League and the League.

Loan spells followed at Hamburg, Cardiff City and Sheffield United before joining Wolves this season. His performances at Molineux have convinced Gary O’Neil to sign Doyle permanently, spending just under £5million on the player. Bargain.

Liam Delap

A bruising striker in the English target man tradition, ‘Son of Rory’ Delap made his first Premier League appearance during City’s punishing 5-2 defeat to Leicester in September 2020.

His appearance came days after scoring in an EFL Cup game against Bournemouth, but Delap has only played in one further league match for the Citizens and has spent the last two years out on loan.

After tough spells with Stoke City and Preston North End, he shone for Hull City in 2023-24 with eight goals and two assists to his name.

His contract at the Etihad is valid until 2026, although it remains to be seen if he has much of a future at City or will be sold elsewhere.

Cole Palmer

Palmer made his league debut for City in a stretch-and-yawn thrashing of Norwich in August 2021. He’s done alright since.

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James McAtee

McAtee made his City bow in a 3-0 victory over Everton in November 2021, but was always going to find it difficult to break into the club’s world-class midfield.

Part of the Sheffield United squad that has been rooted to the bottom of the Premier League for the majority of the season, it’s not been a fun year for McAtee even if his individual performances have caught the eye.

Still on the books at City, McAtee is wanted on a permanent basis by the Blades and newly promoted Leicester City.


Kakay joined the Man City academy from Fluminense in 2021 and made his bow in a thumping win at Norwich the following February.

However, since arriving in Manchester, fans have only seen a few flashes from the Brazilian winger in the senior squad and he’s been loaned out to clubs in Portugal and Brazil.

Still only 20, Kakay is now continuing his development within the academy. Watch this space.

CJ Egan-Riley

With City cruising against Newcastle in May 2022, Egan-Riley was given his Premier League bow from the bench. It would be his only City league appearance.

The centre-back was sold to Burnley that summer, linking with City legend Vincent Kompany, but has spent the last two years on loan in Scotland with Hibs and Dutch outfit Jong PSV.

With Burnley facing another campaign in the Championship next year, perhaps Egan-Riley will get the opportunity to impress at Turf Moor.

Rico Lewis

Transitioning from the academy into Pep Guardiola’s squad isn’t easy, but Lewis has made it look like a walk in the park.

Since being handed his first chance against Bournemouth in August 2022, the teenager hasn’t looked back since.

Impressively, he’s racked up 50 senior appearances for the club and has looked comfortable in multiple roles from full-back to holding midfield.

“What a player. What a player,” Guardiola said in a post-match press conference back in October.

“To find a player like him playing in the pockets, how he has to move in holding midfield, full-back coming inside moving in the spaces – he is one of the best I ever trained by far.”

Shea Charles

After making his debut in the defeat at Brentford in May 2003, City banked a healthy profit upon selling Charles to newly-relegated Southampton.

The Saints swooped in with a lucrative bid of £10.5million which could rise to £15million with add-ons. Charles was highly rated within the Man City academy, but that sort of figure was too good to turn down.

Since joining the Championship side, the 20-year-old has been a steady performer; he’s made 37 appearances as the club look to return to the Premier League at the first attempt.