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From inside locker room: captain introduces Stoke City Cup final squad for Man City

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Who are the Stoke City Under-18s who will face Manchester City in the PL Cup final tonight?

Captain Adam Porter told us who’s who in the locker room.

NATHAN BROOME

Broomy, of Warrington. Came from Man City at 16, played for England at 17 and 18. Very good technically with his feet but also a good stopper. Within our group, we do not think we have faced a goalkeeper better than him at our level. Brings a bit of a joke to the locker room and is good at rallying the rest of the guys around, making sure the standards are high.

LEWIS MACARI

Macca is one of the quietest members of the squad yet one of the most reliable on the pitch, one of our most trusted players. You might not always notice it, but everything is done pretty much perfectly. So consistent.

REECE JONES

He started this season as a right winger but has turned into a right back. With his natural pace and physique he has been a really important member of our team this season. He’s a Stoke fan and in fact there’s a photo of our support for Wembley for the cup final in the tunnel at the bet365 stadium – and there it is!

EDDIE JONES

Came from Bury last summer when they folded. For the rest of the group, he’s probably considered the most professional. Take everything really seriously, whether it’s training or recovery. Really reliable.

COATS KIERAN

A fan of Stoke from Smallthorne. His natural physique he can be very aggressive on the pitch which is what you would expect from a defender.



Kieran Coates impressed as a right-back in the ranks of Stoke City.

MO AKANDJI

The mountain of man as it is called. A beast. All the attributes of an upper half-center. Quiet and calm off the pitch but on it he’s at his best when he’s most aggressive.

PAT JARRETT

He’s from Nantwich and technically one of the best at the Under-18 level. The team may have problems and he may make you dribble on the court. Spent 23s pretty well this season, played quite a few games. He also has a bit of himself in the locker room.

DAN MALONE

Like when Glenn Whelan was here, you enjoy when he plays. He will have you covered and has good football intelligence. He can control the games.

Me, Bugsy and Pat have been playing together since we were around 10 years old and have formed a good relationship in the central midfielder. It shows this season more than any other.

ADAM PORTER

I have definitely developed the box-to-box part of the game since I was full time and have added a few more goals this season.

Being captain of the U18 has brought a new responsibility that I am really proud of. I think I led the group pretty well, but in the locker room there are a number of leaders who have helped me. The standards in the dressing room are very high and it has to come from the whole team, not just one of us.

ANDRE GODFRINNE

A physical beast. No defender would like to play against him. His English is developing and he is always keen in the dressing room, always dancing, always at the speaker. Brought a lot of goals to the team and forged a good relationship with Mo. Statistics over the past few months have shown it.

MO SANKOH

Massive character. Although he is younger, he is one of the leaders in the field. Does not lack self-confidence but always ready to make a difference. His record speaks for itself.

Speaking for me as a midfielder you are judged on goals and assists and having these two guys up front racing all day is awesome. If we do the right things in our box, we know we have a guaranteed goal or two because they are so clinical.

Their work also allows us to approach them.



Mo Sankoh with his hat-trick in his sweater as the Stoke City Under-18s beat Norwich 8-0 in the Premier League Cup.



Ethon Varian scored against Everton in the FA Youth Cup last season.

ETHON VARIAN

Not necessarily the fastest but one of the best physically. Has gone on loan to Nantwich and can handle men’s football. The goalscoring record speaks for itself. He averaged one every 81 minutes for the Under-18s last season. Whether at the start or on the bench, our attackers are really strong. Good boy off the pitch, he demands good standards.

TOM SPARROW

A real grafter in training. Even if we don’t have the best time with the ball, it will fly. Racing stats show he’s still up there, but he mixes that up with being technically very good. This was seen recently in his hat-trick against Sunderland.

CONNER TAYLOR

Conner came in from outside the league at the start of the season, but no one ever wondered if he could raise. A different class on and off the pitch. His frame for the central midfielder is huge and he uses it to his advantage. If you have it, use it. Rarely loses a head but very good with his feet too.

A good character with Eddie to have added to the closet. They have adapted very well to a group that has been together for a long time.



I signed up for Stoke last summer. From left to right: Paul Cooper, Henry Nash, Ruben Gardner-McIntosh, Maksy Boruc, Tom Sparrow, Julius Ndene, Tom Nixon, Jai Verma, Jamie Melbourne, Kevin Fernandes.

PAUL COOPER

The co-ops might not have the biggest frame, but his physique and jumping is ridiculous. The amount of spring at his disposal allows him to come and crosses without problem. Good with his feet and a great stopper. And he works hard all the time. Another who has been with England at the youth level.

JAI VERMA

He’s a bit tricky winger and he’s very difficult to stop. He’s so nimble and his change of direction is so quick. Very useful and although he does not have a lot of minutes he creates chances every time he is on the pitch.

BE SANALI

The French boy can play in the midfield or outside. Pacy and a great dribbler. Has really had an impact this season, both at the start and on the bench.

KEV FERNANDES

Another with big feet, technically very good. Didn’t have a lot of playing time but always added to training. We try to make training more difficult than games and I think it shows when it counts, like the Norwich game.

JAMIE MELBOURNE

A left-back from Birmingham. He has a lot of good attributes and he also has a lot of jokes in the dressing room.

HENRY NASH

Nashy is an excellent communicator in the field. I was recently loaned out to Market Drayton and an old school advocate who doesn’t mind putting his body on the line but can play too.

TOM NIXON

Niko was also loaned to Market Drayton. Play from the back and technically he’s very good. He has a good eye for a pass – and that’s not nonsense.

IBRAHIM DOUCOURE

Tough season with injuries but a great physique for his age in the central midfield and another who has been a great training partner in training.