By G9ija

Manchester City favourites Paul Dickov and Michael Brown believe Phil Foden’s success is the catalyst for the improving fortunes of City’s academy graduates.

Pep Guardiola fielded six academy graduates from the first whistle in City’s destructive 6-1 victory on Tuesday, marking the third time his side have won by a five-goal margin in a month. Zack Steffen was the only player in City’s defensive five that did not make it through the youth system at The Etihad campus, a monumental achievement for an academy that is fast becoming the envy of English football.

However, the pick of the bunch was arguably Cole Palmer, who came off the bench to score his first senior goal. Over the past few months, Palmer has had an impressive rise, including scoring a magical solo goal on his debut for England’s under-21 side.

And former City player Brown suggests the performances of City’s EDS graduates will give the academy youngsters natural optimism about their long-term future at the club.

“The level [the academy players] are at is unbelievable,” Brown said on the Official Man City Podcast.

“It sets a tone that you’re in the right place and that there is a pathway. Straight away, the academy, up to the under-21’s, the players have the belief there’s a pathway to stay at Manchester City, and they’re going to get an opportunity. Because before, you thought that it might not have been there.”

Dickov maintains that Foden is an essential factor in motivating the young players coming through, as he is the one to have provided the blueprint on how to become a sustained member of Guardiola’s all-conquering side.

“The players who were on the pitch tonight would have looked at Foden on the pitch a couple of years ago and thought ‘wow.’ As good as he was and always has been as a kid, some of these players that are coming through now are just as good as him at that age.

“You know what it does as well? The kids who are at under-14, under-15 level are looking at the Wycombe match and thinking, ‘do you know what? We can get a chance here.’

“The kids on the pitch tonight would have been eight or nine when the academy opened, so they’ve had ten years going through. It’s going to be the ones beneath that now that are going to have a real chance. Talk about the last ten years? Let’s talk about the next ten years.”