Former England internationals Joleon Lescott and Shaun Wright-Phillips believe it’s important people understand Manchester City’s vision in world football.
The pair played together at Man City with both racking up over 100 games for the Premier League giants.
In 2014 it was announced the City Football Group (CFG) would take ownership of Melbourne Heart and since then Melbourne City have set the benchmark of professionalism in the A-League.
CFG are also affiliated with New York City FC, Yokohama F. Marinos, Club Atletico Torque and Girona.
Speaking to FourFourTwo in Melbourne at the launch of the On The Ball app, Lescott was aware of the cynics, but said people needed to understand the vision was good for football.
“At the start, when it’s happening, people just see it as a business move,” Lescott said.
“If you look at what they’re doing throughout all their teams, set-ups and infrastructure, they’re trying to create jobs and professionalism throughout football.
“It’s working at the moment, so I think we need to take our hat off to the organisers and the people that run that and have seen that as the way to go forward.
“I was well aware of the infrastructure there and what they were trying to do before it was established. I do work with Man City at the moment doing some mentoring for the younger generation.
“I’ve overseen the set-up there before I left, I think it’s vitally important that everyone sees what they’re doing in Manchester, but throughout the world they’re trying to innovate and create new ways and benefits in football.”
Wright-Phillips’ son, D’Margio, is currently in the Man City youth set-up and believes the club has the best training facility in the world.
“I just think with a club like City behind you, it’s hard for it to go wrong,” he said.
“As long as you have the players that are willing to fight for what they’ve been given. The infrastructure is there, so really it’s just down to the players and coach to do the rest on the pitch.
“I think it’s a brilliant idea from them because for them as a team, that club is massive, so they have good quality players.
“At the same time they have amazing young players coming through, it’s a chance for their young players to possibly go across overseas and gain some experience, play some senior games and a chance for the brand itself to grow.”
Lescott also said he was surprised at the amount of interest in football when he came to Melbourne.
He also praised Tim Cahill for what he has done for Australian football.
“I knew there’d be enthusiasm there and Tim Cahill so he was harping on about the positivity,” he said.
“The national team is doing great at the moment so it can only help the younger generations.
“Tim and I have spoken throughout our careers and we spoke last week. He was working so I couldn’t go, but he offered us around to go around for a barbecue and stuff like that. Before I leave I will be seeing him.
“He’s a role model kids should be looking up to, if there is someone playing to that level at his age, it’s proven that it does take a lot of dedication, ability to get there and to maintain it and he’s showed it.”