What is the EDS?
- Thu 27 Jan 2011, 12:44PM
- Posted byPeter Ferguson
The Elite Development Squad is effectively the stepping stone for graduates from the club's Academy with a view to breaking through to the manager's first-team squad.
As such, the EDS has replaced the traditional reserve team at the club, fulfilling fixtures in the Barclays Premier League Reserve League as well as entering the Manchester Senior Cup and the Lancashire Senior Cup.
As the name suggests, the side usually comprises Under-21 players, although a senior player back in training following an injury might sometimes be given a run-out in an EDS match to aid his return to full match fitness.
The club's pride in a much-admired Academy system that has produced a steady stream of senior players over a decade or more, made an immediate impression on Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and the new owners.
Having committed to maintaining and building upon the "talent factory" at Platt Lane, it was also evident that the development of a vibrant Under-21 side would be of immense worth in the next stage of a youngster's progress.
The value of City's EDS is clear with players such as Dedryck Boyata, Abdisalam Ibrahim and Alex Tchuimeni-Nimely among others stepping up. Combined with a policy of loan spells with appropriate clubs, young talent is blooming.
Andy Welsh, the club's Elite Development Manager, was appointed in January 2010 to oversee this exciting project after gaining considerable coaching experience at clubs such as Leeds United, Blackpool and Royal Antwerp.
Fully committed to nurturing the considerable talent emerging from the Academy, he emphasises development ahead of results on the pitch from his charges, who are based alongside the senior City squad at Carrington.
Welsh's team play their home games at Hyde FC, who marked their 125th anniversary by agreeing a link with the club that involved a modernising make-over as well as pitch improvements at their Ewen Fields ground