MAN CITY NOTEBOOK: Women's team's new £10m training complex gains council approval, U18s look to emulate Class of 2020 in Youth Cup final... and why NO ONE voted for Erling Haaland for Player of the Year

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Manchester City have secured council approval to build a new £10million training complex for the women's team - who are heading for final day WSL drama.

Gareth Taylor's side currently share the City Football Academy (CFA) with the men's teams but construction is set to start on their bespoke facility ahead of next season.

The 2024-25 campaign starts in September and Bunny Shaw and co will still call the CFA home while the building work is completed.

The project will include a hydrotherapy area, high-performance gym and an analytics space, bearing similarities to the resources at Pep Guardiola's disposal.

Before all that, City will find themselves in a straight shootout with Chelsea on the last day of the season (May 18) for the WSL title - and are relying on rivals Manchester United for a favour.

Manchester City has released CGI images of their new bespoke women's training facility

Manchester City has released CGI images of their new bespoke women's training facility

Manchester City has released CGI images of their new bespoke women's training facility

Project's planned renovations will bear some similarities to where Pep Guardiola's side train

Project's planned renovations will bear some similarities to where Pep Guardiola's side train

On the pitch, Gareth Taylor's side are ramping up preparations for deadline day drama in a bid to outfox perennial champions Chelsea

On the pitch, Gareth Taylor's side are ramping up preparations for deadline day drama in a bid to outfox perennial champions Chelsea

Chelsea are three points behind with a game in hand at Tottenham next week before travelling to United. Chelsea's goal difference is marginally better, while City are at Aston Villa attempting to lift a first title since 2016 and stop Emma Hayes winning five in a row before she departs for America.

City aim for Youth Cup glory

City's kids are looking to deliver the club's second Youth Cup triumph in four years when they take on Leeds United at the Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

Up to Thursday morning, City had sold 17,500 tickets for a clash that has a maximum capacity set at 20,000.

Ben Wilkinson's Under 18s will want to follow in the footsteps of the Class of 2020. Cole Palmer, Morgan Rogers and James McAtee got the goals in a thrilling 3-2 win over Chelsea and the trio have since gone on to impress in the Premier League.

Tommy Doyle has shone at Wolves too, while Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Liam Delap regularly earn England Under-21 recognition. Levi Colwill was a noticeable name on the Chelsea team sheet on the night.

The Youth Cup-winning Class of 2020 outsmarted Chelsea 3-2 in their final at St George's Park

The Youth Cup-winning Class of 2020 outsmarted Chelsea 3-2 in their final at St George's Park

Two of the standout names of that side include Morgan Rogers, now of Aston Villa

Also in the side was Cole Palmer, now a star for Chelsea

Two of the standout names from that side are Morgan Rogers, now of Aston Villa (left) and Chelsea starlet Cole Palmer

The exploits of those involved back then provides further incentive for Wilkinson's side when they go into a home final, with a sizeable following expected from over the Pennines.

While this is Leeds' first appearance in a final since 1997, City's academy are geared up to win trophies - but do make sure that parents are aware of the tough road into professional football too.

Inside the academy building at the club's training ground, there are messages on the wall to families, asking if whether their child scoring a hat-trick is a reflection on their parenting. Underneath it then asks if, in fact, the boy or girl's personality traits – humble, respectful - is actually a better gauge of that.

City skipper shunned United

As Doyle did in 2020, Jahmai Simpson-Pusey will captain the Under 18s for a final that is being streamed on FA Player. The central defender has been at City since he was seven - and revealed that he had the pick of local clubs when scouted playing for Deighton in Huddersfield.

'I was in between teams: Everton, City, Manchester United,' Simpson-Pusey said. 'I didn't like it at City at the start and I went to United. I liked it at United because all they did was play mini games and it wasn't really proper training.

'My mum ended up getting advice off those who have been in football and asked what would benefit me more. They said go to City because they did proper training sessions to help the player technically and individually.'

Jahmai Simpson-Pusey's (left) decision to plump for a Man City future may prove United's loss

Jahmai Simpson-Pusey's (left) decision to plump for a Man City future may prove United's loss

That has proven a smart decision. Simpson-Pusey is one who is asked to train up with Guardiola's first-team and has now started attempting the John Stones role in a couple of recent games. He's also operated as a single defensive midfielder as City look to broaden the 18-year-old's horizons.

'It's becoming second nature,' he added. 'Growing up I used to watch Sergio Ramos because I like his aggression. I have been watching Ruben Dias, he is such a good leader and is aggressive on and off the ball and Stones because of the way he plays.

'With the Youth Cup final, you are remembered in a way because it is such a big tournament in England, it's inspiring to see all the previous City players playing first team football.'

Haaland stares down '99 heroes

On the topic of United, a new Prime Video docu-series on the '99 Treble is being premiered at the Printworks on Thursday night. Andrew Cole and Dwight Yorke are among those expected to attend - but will be given a gentle reminder of City's own Treble triumph last season as they walk in.

There is a huge billboard of Erling Haaland above the Printworks' entrance, an advert for mobile game Clash of Clans. 'He stole your trophies,' is the tagline.

Presumably its placement there is merely a coincidence.

Erling Haaland is an ominous presence overlooking the venue for United's new 1999-98 Treble documentary launch

Erling Haaland is an ominous presence overlooking the venue for United's new 1999-98 Treble documentary launch

No votes? Because it's all oh-so-normal for top scorer

Phil Foden was the deserved recipient of the Football Writers' Association Men's Player of the Year last week after a stunning season. City fared well in the awards, with Rodri coming third just behind Arsenal's Declan Rice.

Read More

Phil Foden opens up on his desire to become 'one of the best Premier League players this season' in Mail Sport interview before being crowned FWA Footballer of the Year

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But there was one interesting detail that emerged from the voting process: Haaland - top scorer and almost certain to win consecutive Golden Boots - didn't receive a single nomination.

And that threw up a few thoughts. Firstly, that hitting 20 or more Premier League goals in a campaign is now just considered normal for Haaland. An expected glut from somebody who can claim to be the best striker in the world. That just goes to indicate how good he is.

There was also the element of, if you were casting a vote for a City star, then the aforementioned midfielders have both played out of their skin.

But, while researching a piece on Haaland and Roy Keane this week, one source offered a theory about the FWA voting – and the wider, general view on the 23-year-old. They believed that Keane is one pundit who contributes to a narrative that Haaland is merely a goalscorer – and there is a suggestion that subconsciously creeps into people's minds when they are discussing him.

Phil Foden was the deserved winner of the Football Writers' Association Player of the Year

Phil Foden was the deserved winner of the Football Writers' Association Player of the Year 

But there were far fewer votes than expected for star striker Erling Haaland this campaign

But there were far fewer votes than expected for star striker Erling Haaland this campaign

'It's now a common story that Erling needs to score goals to justify his place,' the source said. 'His best game last season was against Arsenal, the title decider. He didn't score until the last second and his hold up play killed them.'

Haaland, meanwhile, is believed to have spent some of his three days off back home in Bryne as Keane's latest comments, calling him a 'spoilt brat' at the weekend, did the rounds.

Legend on the pitch, legend in the stands

David Silva was not the only one given a warm reception at the Etihad last Saturday. The 38-year-old, back at a game for the first time since he left the club during the pandemic, was gifted a lifetime season card by chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak at the training ground on a day when his genius was remembered. Some of Guardiola's players appeared genuinely shocked to see the old master when they arrived for work.

And somebody who effectively bought a lifetime ticket back in the 1950s was honoured for her support of the Premier League champions.

Man City legend David Silva returned to the Etihad for Man City's 5-1 thrashing of Wolves

Man City legend David Silva returned to the Etihad for Man City's 5-1 thrashing of Wolves 

Lifetime season ticket holder Inez McKee was rewarded for her loyalty by Mike Summersbee

Lifetime season ticket holder Inez McKee was rewarded for her loyalty by Mike Summersbee

Inez McKee started going to Maine Road in 1951 and has bought a season ticket for every single one of the last 72 years.

City invited the former schoolteacher into the corporate Tunnel Club, and she was handed a framed shirt by Mike Summerbee. West Ham next Sunday will be her final game as a season-ticket holder.

'It's breaking her heart that she is having to relinquish her season ticket but she is finding it harder to go to games now,' said McKee's son, David.

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