PRE-season for James Poole in recent years has meant watching on with bewilderment as Manchester City’s lavish recruitment policy has pushed him further down the pecking order.
A graduate of the Academy upon which the club once depended for its next crop of first-team stars, Poole found himself one of the victims of City’s accelerated plan to join Europe’s elite following the multi-million pound investment from Arab billionaires.
But the player is also able to look upon that dearth of first-team opportunity in a different light, not least because of the calibre of team-mate he found himself training alongside.
“It was hard at first because you’ve seen so many players come through the ranks and get their chance that you think the same thing will happen for you,” the 21-year-old told SportMail having swapped Eastlands for Victoria Park this summer.
“I’d always dreamed of making it at City and was working towards that.
“But when the new owners came in obviously everything changed and I probably knew I was going to have to make a career elsewhere.
“I’m glad that I was there during that period though because of the players I was able to train with and learn from.
“It was incredible really playing alongside people such as Carlos Tevez and David Silva.”
Silva, the Spanish World Cup winner signed from Valencia, had an impact on Poole in particular.
“I’d probably say I learned most from him,” he said.
“He plays a similar sort of position to me in and around the forwards and he’s such a clever and skilful player.
“It was fantastic to watch him and I just took as much as I possibly could from seeing him play.”
And that time rubbing shoulders with some of the game’s biggest names has given the young striker a good grounding for his future career.
“Of course it’s a different environment in League One compared to the Premier League,” he added.
“But those players, for all their money and reputation, were just like normal people really and were great to get along with.
“It taught me so much to see that and I’d like to think I’ve taken something from their approach to the game.
“They still worked so hard to improve even though they are at the top of their game.”