Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

League: Kiwis to experience training ground nirvana in Manchester

Manchester City players perform drills at Etihad Campus. Photo / Getty
Manchester City players perform drills at Etihad Campus. Photo / Getty

In terms of facilities, the Kiwis will experience training ground nirvana in Manchester tomorrow.

League usually lags behind football, cricket and rugby in this country, but tomorrow the Kiwis will have a taste of the high life.

David Kidwell's team will have a training session at the Etihad Campus complex, the exclusive facilities of the Manchester City football club.

Since the Lancashire team was taken over by Dubai based investors in 2008, it has been one of the richest on the planet.

The Abu Dhabi United Group have pumped hundreds of millions into the Premier League club, and the Etihad Campus complex is an example of their ambition.

Modelled on the academies of the likes of Barcelona and Ajax, it is built on 80 acres of former industrial and disused land adjacent to the Etihad Stadium.

The extraordinary facility, which cost an estimated GBP 200 million ($340 million), features 17 pitches including four that can be tailored to replicate various fields across the Premier League.

There are also three gyms, and six pools of various sizes, including hot and cold plunge pools to aid injury recovery.

It's an incredible facility - but Manchester City don't lack ambition. They've won the league title twice in the last five years, and boast some of the most expensive players in the world, including Belgian Kevin De Bruyne, who cost GBP55 million ($93.61 million) and Raheem Sterling, who left Liverpool with a GBP 49 million ($83.4 million) price tag on his head.

Manchester City also have one of the most famous coaches in the world, former Barcelona and Bayern Munich mentor Pep Guardiola.

Their team won't be training tomorrow - they have a home Champions League match on Tuesday night against Barcelona - but there may be some players present doing rehabilitation sessions. And the first team squad could also be around against of the huge clash with Lionel Messi and company, as the Manchester City team stay at the on-site four star hotel the night before home games.

The Kiwis will have an additional session at the Etihad campus on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) before travelling to Birmingham where they will be based ahead of the match in Coventry against the Kangaroos on Sunday (NZT).

- NZ Herald

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