April 16, 2021, Manchester, United Kingdom: Manchester, England, 16th April 2021. Cole Palmer of Manchester City celebrates scoring their second goal during the Professional Development League match at Academy Stadium, Manchester.

Where are they now? Man City’s XI of future stars from the 2020 FA Youth Cup final

James Young

Since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of Manchester City in 2008, the influx of cash has brought plenty of success alongside investment in many areas of the club.

One of those has been the “Elite development squad” that has been created at the Under-23 level to bleed players into the first team or to sell on for a hefty profit.

In 2020, Mansour’s investment finally brought success with a first FA Youth Cup title since the takeover. City beat perennial Youth Cup champions Chelsea 3-2 in an end-to-end final at St George’s Park.

Three years on, we’ve taken a look at what happened to that squad.

GK: Cieran Slicker

Having come through the ranks at City’s academy, Slicker spent 13 years at the Etihad Stadium and was named a substitute for a Champions League tie vs RB Leipzig alongside games in the EFL and FA Cup.

His only appearance came in a Papa John’s trophy match against Lincoln City before a loan spell to Rochdale.

This summer he signed for Ipswich Town for an undisclosed fee and has yet to make an appearance.

RB: CJ Egan-Riley

Another player who spent nearly a decade with City, Egan-Riley made his debut in the EFL Cup vs Wycombe Wanderers and went onto make two more appearances against Sporting in the UEFA Champions League and Newcastle United in the Premier League.

In the summer of 2022, Egan-Riley moved to Burnley and spent last season on loan at Hibernian, making 14 appearances.

CB: Taylor Harwood-Bellis

Harwood-Bellis joined boyhood club City from the age of six and is still on the books via various loan spells.

In 2021, Harwood-Bellis’ first loan was to Blackburn and has been at Anderlecht, Stoke, Burnley and currently Southampton to varying degrees of playing time and success.

Southampton have a buyout clause of £20 million in Harwood-Bellis’ contract if they get promoted to the Premier League.

CB: Alpha Diounkou

Diounkou originally came through the ranks at Mallorca before joining City in 2016.

The Senegalese failed to make a first-team appearance before leaving in 2021 for Granada. Loan spells have followed at San Fernando, Barcelona B and AEK Larnaca.

Diounkou was called up to the senior Senegal national team in May 2022 for 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification matches but has yet to make a senior appearance for Senegal.

LB: Luke Mbete

Mbete was a youth player at Brentford before they closed their academy in 2016 and as a result signed for City. He made his debut in 2021 against Wycombe in the EFL Cup and is still at the club through various loan spells.

Last season was spent at Huddersfield Town and Bolton Wanderers and Mbete received a medal for his involvement in Bolton’s Papa John’s Trophy win.

Mbete is currently on loan at Dutch second-tier side Den Bosch.

CM: Joe Hodge

Hodge was named Scholar of the Year in 2020 but failed to make a first-team appearance for City after several injuries including a stress fracture to his back. A loan spell to Derry was equally as frustrating with him not being able to play for the same reason.

Hodge joined Wolves this summer and so far has made six appearances, making his debut vs Chelsea in October.

CM: Tommy Doyle

Like his midfield team-mate, Doyle is also currently at Wolves but just on loan. Doyle has City heritage in his family, being born to Scott Doyle and Charlotte Pardoe, children of former Manchester City players Mike Doyle and Glyn Pardoe.

Doyle has so far made seven appearances for City in all competitions across the EFL Cup, Champions League and Premier League.

Loan spells have since followed at Hamburg, Cardiff City and Sheffield United before joining Wolves this season.

CM: James McAtee (Alex Robertson, ’87)

Similar to Doyle, McAtee has football blood in the family with him being the younger brother of Luton striker John McAtee.

The midfielder, who scored a first-half equaliser against Chelsea in that Youth Cup victory, has represented England at Under-21 level but so far has struggled to break into City’s first team. He’s been on loan at Sheffield United since 2022.

Robertson was brought on in his place in the closing stages to shore things up as City protected their narrow lead.

The 20-year-old midfielder remains on City’s books, is a full Australia international, and is currently on loan at League One promotion-chasers Portsmouth.

FW: Cole Palmer 

One of the only players in this team to properly establish himself as a rotation player within the city squad, Palmer moved to Chelsea this summer for £40 million and made 14 appearances in the league last season for City.

In one of his last games, Palmer scored the equaliser in the UEFA Super Cup vs Sevilla which his side ended up winning on penalties.

READ: The £442million Man City have made from selling academy graduates under Pep Guardiola

FW: Morgan Rogers (Jayden Braaf, ’76)

Rogers failed to make a first-team appearance for City after joining from West Brom. He scored City’s second goal in their Youth Cup final victory over Chelsea but never really kicked on to make it into first-team contention.

Three loan spells later at Lincoln, Bournemouth and Blackpool, Rodgers was sold to Middlesbrough and so far has scored two goals in 12 games at the Championship side.

Dutch forward Braaf left City on a free transfer in 2022, having never appeared for Guardiola’s first team. He continued his development at Borussia Dortmund but never made it past the B Team and has since joined Serie A outfit Hellas Verona.

FW: Liam Delap

Son of throw-in merchant Rory, Liam scored for City on his senior debut in the League Cup vs Bournemouth in 2020 and made his Premier League debut the same week vs Leicester City but struggled with injuries the following season.

Last season was spent on loan at Stoke City and Preston and Delap is currently on loan at Hull City, where he’s scored four goals in 15 games so far this season.

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