Manchester City academy director Jason Wilcox has warned the club's players of the difficulty of breaking into the first team.
But Wilcox told the Manchester Evening News: "We've got to try to produce players that are better than the players that the manager wants to buy.
"That's a big ask but it's not something that we're afraid of.
"What the manager is doing now with Phil, Phil is being patient. The manager believes in him and knows that he's going to be a long-term player for Manchester City, and now if young players want to come straight through the academy and play in City's first team they have to earn the right.
"They've got to go and train with the first team and when they go up there they've got to make an impact, not just be a number. They've got to have personality and presence and conduct themselves in the right way because if they don't and they don't work hard or listen to the manager's instructions or help the first team prepare for games and be focused 100 per cent then they might not get a second opportunity."