It’s fair to say that Gary Neville was far from impressed with Man City boss Pep Guardiola’s decision to name just six substitutes against Burnley.
After the line-up and bench was announced, as seen in the tweet below, it became apparent quite quickly that City had one less player than allowed on the sidelines.
How we line-up at Turf Moor! ?
— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 3, 2018
Injuries are a major problem for Guardiola right now with Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane, Benjamin Mendy, Fabian Delph and David Silva among others unavailable for the trip to Turf Moor.
However, Neville says that there is no excuse for the Spanish tactician to not call up a youngster from the U23s after it was suggested that they had a game on Friday night and couldn’t be involved.
“I think it’s a joke, I absolutely think it’s a joke,” Neville told Sky Sports. “Even if they played yesterday, bring one and put them on the bench. Bring a kid to travel with the team, help the kit man and put him on the bench to have the experience of being in a Premier League game. Give someone a boost at the club.
“It’s poor to not bring a young player, really poor. And I can guarantee you the youth team coach and reserve team coach at Man City will feel disheartened by him having six players on the bench. I guarantee you.”
Neville has got this spot on. As he went on to rightly suggest, even if they did play on Friday night, Guardiola probably wouldn’t need to bring the youngster on anyway so it’s a case of taking him along for the experience to be around the senior squad and benefit from it.
It really does look like a missed opportunity that could have been easily avoided, and it surely does send the wrong message to the young players at City that regardless of whether or not they make an impression at youth level, it’s going to be incredibly difficult to get on Guardiola’s radar and force their way into his plans.
Having splashed out on Aymeric Laporte in January for a club-record fee of £57m, as per BBC Sport, it seems as though the spending is unlikely to stop if there isn’t going to be an emphasis on bringing youth-team players in.