He finished top scorer as City's Under 15s won the Nike Cup in 2004, beating the produce of Barcelona's famed La Masia academy in the group stage Nike Air Max Bw Og On Feet and United in the final.
For City, and Mancini, Daniel Sturridge is the one who got away.
out of his teens and Chelsea rolled the dice.
Rushed and riled from the start, Chelsea were already a goal down by the time Sturridge made his first meaningful contribution last night.
Had their careers panned out differently, David Silva and Juan Mata would have been playing for Real Madrid against Barcelona in El Clasico on Saturday night, instead of on opposite sides in the pouring rain of a Monday night in West London.
He played in two FA Youth Cup finals the 2006 defeat to Liverpool and victory over Chelsea two years later before breaking into the first team.
But his prestigious talent wasn't enough to force Sheikh Mansour to break the bank for a player barely Nike Air Max 90 Ultra Blue
But even with the likes of Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Mario Balotelli on Roberto Mancini's team sheet, the Italian will have looked on enviously at one player in Andre Villas Boas's dressing room.
Bridge six years later.
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"We have made an offer which is a good offer for Daniel at this stage of his career and that was refused," said then City manager Mark Hughes, hinting at the striker's wage demands.
But that's beginning to look like peanuts for a player whose form has forced Nicolas Anelka to seek pastures new at Shanghai Shenhua and convinced Villas Boas that the substitutes bench is best place for 50m Fernando Torres.
With eight minutes to go, Sturridge drifted in off the touchline, shifted the ball out of his feet and fired his shot against Joleon Lescott's raised arm to gift Frank Lampard the chance to score the winner from the penalty spot.
And for City, and Mancini, Sturridge will remain the one who got away.
But 10 minutes before half time he brought down John Terry's pass on his chest and, after two stepovers and a pinpoint cross, Raul Meireles was celebrating a first Premier League goal for Chelsea.
It was a glimpse of what City are missing, and the first time Sturridge had been able to make a point to his former employers.
It takes a special player to make a club of the wealth and stature of Real Madrid look on with regret.
Having snatched the 14 year old nephew of former Wolves striker Dean from Coventry in 2003, City couldn't stop Sturridge moving to Stamford Nike Air Max Sneakerboot 90
Should City have kept Sturridge? Have your say.
"If Sturridge was here today, he'd be in the first team," said Mancini in the build up to the game, Nike Air Max Effort Tr
And on the day Mancini had hunted him down to quiz him about his departure, he had been sent off for an ugly knee high challenge on Edin Dzeko.
The oil fields of Russia and the Middle East have been drained for City and Chelsea to field 22 of the finest players on the planet at Stamford Bridge last night.
"It would have been better for City to send him on loan to improve than let him leave altogether."
He was already the gem in Jim Cassell's youth system.
In three games against his old club before last night, Sturridge had been on the losing side in each of them.
Of course, even the biggest clubs make mistakes.
"It was strange because Sturridge was developed in Manchester and someone let him go," continued Mancini.
Daniel Sturridge made Manchester City pay
Sturridge's full international debut against Sweden last month means the 6.5million fee set by the Professional Football Compensation Committee has now been paid in full.
while admitting he had sought out the 22 year old after City's win over Bolton last season to ask why he had left.
"For sure he was one of the best young players at City. It was not difficult to see he was a good player."
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