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Clotet’s philosophy and trust to have long-term benefits: Opinion

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Though City have had a very mixed start to the 2019/20 season so far, the emergence of some very promising young players and youth graduates sees the Blues future look very bright in this regard.

16-year-old Jude Bellingham has caught the headlines, starting four matches for Clotet’s side this season and looking very much like a top-level midfielder in the making.

In addition to this, and though not involved of late because of injury, young defender Steve Seddon has made his Blues debut this season, going on to make four appearances thus far.

The left-back, who last season had loan spells in League One and Two with AFC Wimbledon and Stevenage respectively, started the campaign in Pep Clotet’s side and only lost his place due to the leg injury picked up in the defeat at Swansea City at the end of August.

Seddon will be hoping for further first-team opportunities once fit again, and with Kristian Pedersen being an inconsistent performer in the left-back role, the 21-year-old will hope to make the position his own long-term.

Young attacking midfielder Odin Bailey is another one off the Blues academy conveyer belt, making a few first-team appearances this season off the substitutes bench – in both league and cup.

The 19-year-old marked his entrance in dramatic fashion in Friday’s victory over Middlesbrough, popping up with the winning goal in the dying embers of the game after coming on seven minutes from time.

Having represented England at youth level and spending some time on loan at non-league Gloucester City last season, Bailey is now being given a taste of life in City’s first-team setup as Clotet shows his trust in youth.

While City may not have the spending power and resources of some of their competitors, this does offer the opportunities to youngsters at the club to stake a claim for first-team inclusion and, it appears, a clear pathway from the academy to Clotet’s side, should the performances deserve and warrant this.

With numerous other youngsters, though yet to feature, in and around the Spaniard’s squad, the chances recently afforded to the above three is not only beneficial for the young players and the club’s long-term structure and sustainability, but also to the supporters who very much appreciate the homegrown talents being given a regular chance to shine.

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