Man City star Rico Lewis feels the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup is very important for player development
Manchester City star Rico Lewis has hailed the importance of cup football for the development of young footballers across the world, with the latest edition of the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup preparing to take place in the capital this weekend.
The versatile City starlet reflected on the benefits of cup football during the Treble Winners’ recent visit to the UAE, highlighting its importance to his own meteoric rise to Pep Guardiola’s starting eleven.
He said: “For me especially, it was really important to get that feeling for competitive football. For some matches like the FA Youth Cup, we’d have a crowd watching and it helps you see more to football other than how you’re playing. It’s about how you deal with your surroundings and perform with that added pressure.”
The 19-year-old England international believes his side’s success in continuing to maintain a positive run of form is another benefit that cup football provides, as the FA Cup winners prepare to defend their titles across all fronts in the final weeks of the season.
Lewis added: “Cup competitions are really important even for us as it helps us with form. No matter what’s happening in the league, it’s important that you’ve also got those cup games to reset or also keep your momentum going. Obviously for myself, it’s always helpful to get more minutes too.”
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Alongside the club’s initiatives to grow the game at grassroots’ level in the UAE, the fifth edition of the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup is set to return to Zayed Sports City next weekend on 17 and 18 February, and Lewis believes the tournament has immeasurable importance for young players in their progression within the game.
“When you’re in a cup competition, that’s when you need the team to come together as a whole to reach the end goal. The belief in your teammates and squad is really important too for their development, so I wish all the teams good luck for the Abu Dhabi Cup.”
Launched in 2017, the Abu Dhabi Cup is a youth football tournament held by Manchester City FC, supported by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Department of Culture of Tourism, and welcomes players from all over the globe and of all abilities to Abu Dhabi, with the aim of developing and inspiring youngsters.
Following unprecedented demand, the 2024 tournament will feature over 2000 players and include new teams from across the region and beyond, and new categories, including further divisions for girls’ clubs to participate in response to strong growth in the women’s game worldwide.
The tournament will take place over the weekend of 17-18 February 2024 at Zayed City Sports Stadium, the UAE’s largest multi-purpose sports venue and the home to the Abu Dhabi Cup, as well as the recently launched Abu Dhabi League to inspire the next generation of sporting stars in the capital.
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