City Football Academy opened in Manchester

Manchester City have opened their City Football Academy complex in a bid to improve the number of homegrown players coming through the club.

Since the Premier League champions were bought by Sheikh Mansour in 2008, City have often preferred to look abroad when it comes to player recruitment.

While signings such as Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and David Silva have helped the club add to their trophy cabinet, a lack of English players has proven problematic in recent years when it comes to meeting Premier League quotas on homegrown players.

The likes of Jack Rodwell and Adam Johnson have already moved on after struggling to impress at the Etihad Stadium, while Scott Sinclair and Dedryck Boyata seem unlikely to feature prominently in the first team under Manuel Pellegrini.

However, the club opened the academy, which has been four years in the making, on Monday with the complex tipped to serve as a breeding ground for the club's age-group sides as well as community initiatives.

The 7,000 capacity Academy Stadium will be used by the Elite Development Squad, Manchester City Women and the local community.

"We wanted to build something that was unique in the world of football," explained academy director Brian Marwood.

"The vision was always about building for the future," added Khaldoon Al Mubarak, with the City chairman also touching on the importance of the academy in terms of the English champions' place in global football.

City already have existing partnerships with New York City - the soon-to-be MLS side - and Australian outfit Melbourne City.

Elite Development Squad coach Patrick Vieira told the club's official website: "What I find really exciting about the project is before designing the facilities, they've been to the football world, the basketball world, the NFL world.

"There is a lot of hard work behind the project."