“TO sustain success for a long time you need an incredible organisation that supports the manager,” Man City manager Guardiola said in a 2021, moments after his team beat West Ham 2-1, their 20 th consecutive victory in all competitions.
The organisation Pep is referring to is not City’s first team and its coaching staff, but the club as a whole, as one ecosystem of excellence which begins at grassroots level and goes right up to the senior squad.
Cork-man Brian Barry Murphy is the newest recruit by this organisation, and he will oversee a hugely talented under-23s team as they get ready to step up to first team football.
The 42-year-old is expected to pick-up where he left off at Rochdale, where he coached a number of young players out of the academy and into his first team.
In two seasons at The Dale he oversaw the development of Luke Matheson, who signed for Wolves in January 2021 for £1 million, and Kwadwo Baah, who joined Watford this summer for £125,000.
Barry Murphy was also instrumental in the emergence of goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu, who joined Rochdale on loan from Man City in 2020.
The shot-stopper was made the youngest starter in the Football League, and the goalkeeper’s distribution was the main the catalyst for Rochdale’s attack last season.
It is Barry Murphy’s record with young players, combined with his pass and move philosophy, which made him the ideal candidate to join Man City this summer.
The Cork-man will now have to introduce this philosophy to an under-23s squad stacked with emerging stars.
Some of the players include Liam Delap, the son of former Irish international Rory, who made one Premier League appearance in 2020 and Cole Palmer, who featured for City in the Champions League in 2020.
Barry Murphy will have to create a progressive environment for these players, which focuses on development as opposed to winning.
It is a formula the club’s under-23s have been successful with in recent seasons and Barry Murphy will have to continue this trend.
The appointment comes in the middle of a minor shake up of the organisation’s structure, which is being done to build direct links between the first team and academy.
Earlier this month, Carlos Vicens from their under-18s was promoted to City’s first team coaching staff.
The Spaniard, who began working with the club’s under-12 and under-13 sides in 2017, has been appointed to provide a link from first team to academy level, as well as helping with set-pieces.
A chain of command has thus been created at the Sky Blues, which links Guardiola right down through the academy. Barry Murphy’s role with the club’s under-23s is a crucial part of this organisation.