Juanma Lillo issues reality check to Man City academy stars after Cole Palmer transfer exit

Palmer&aposs 42.5m transfer sees him become the most expensive City academy graduate, with the academy topping 100m in sales and sell-ons this summer. However, despite the positives of the money incoming for the academy, the path to regular first-team games remains difficult for the best youngsters if someone with the quality of Palmer felt he must leave.

Despite Palmer deciding to join Chelsea, which made it tough for City to stand in his way, assistant manager Juanma Lillo says the club won&apost change their approach with promoting young players before challenging them to earn their place in Pep Guardiola&aposs squad.

“Each player is different in the process, you can&apost establish a middle ground,” said Lillo. “Some develop quickly, some uncover their talent a little bit later. The club creates a lovely atmosphere coming from the manager at the top. Thats the path that we need to take.”

Asked if it was difficult for City to hold onto their best young players in light of Palmer&aposs exit, Lillo said: “Pep has always shown this in terms of what the player wants. It needs to fit in with what the club wants, the management. If it doesnt fit with the club it won&apost happen, we don&apost get involved.

“What a player wants, it&aposs difficult to say if they want to go. I can only say the club is managing the young players really well.

“I think we are in a period now, not just in football, where we want things quickly. I&aposm not saying this was the case with Cole Palmer, Im talking in a general sense. Were in a time period where sometimes we dont know where we want to go but we want to get there quick.

“People ask, &aposwhere are you going?&apos and we say, &aposI dont know but I want to go quickly&apos. I&aposm not talking about this particular case. It&aposs in the background, the social makeup. Football isn&apost an island, it&aposs a continent. We&aposre not going to separate ourselves from that. I reiterate, each person understands this is his moment and I respect completely what Cole has done.”

As Palmer and James McAtee left on deadline day, Oscar Bobb remains the final young player in the squad, with Lillo challenging the promising Norwegian – and others – to seize his chance that has opened up.