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'Nothing worse' - Man United target Jason Wilcox's rule to keep Man City wonderkids humble

Jason Wilcox helped create a "respectful" culture at Manchester City where academy players were prohibited from wearing colourful boots in order to keep their young egos in check.

Wilcox, who worked as Man City's academy director between 2017 and 2023 before becoming Southampton's director of football last summer, has been the subject of an official approach from Manchester United who want to appoint the 53-year-old as technical director after a recommendation from newly-appointed CEO Omar Berrada.

During his time at the Etihad Stadium, Wilcox oversaw the development of players such as Cole Palmer, Tommy Doyle and Brahim Diaz. But despite regularly supplying Pep Guardiola's first team with future stars of the game, Wilcox helped ensure such players remained grounded and respectful.

In an interview with the Mirror in 2016, Wilcox revealed the rules that prevented City's future stars aged 18 or under from wearing anything other than black boots as they looked to catch Guardiola's eye.

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“There is nothing worse for me than to see a high-profile footballer who has no manners or respect for other people," said Wilcox. “Yes, you do have to be single-minded, but you can still be respectful to others.

“It doesn’t matter whether a boy is speaking to one of the cleaning ladies or the CEO, we demand that they show respect. We want people to represent Manchester City the right way – not just in a sky-blue shirt, but when they are away from the club as well.”

After an approach from United on Monday, Southampton manager Russell Martin refused to be drawn