Manchester City academy director Jason Wilcox says the support from the football community following the death of former player Jeremy Wisten has been “overwhelming”.
His former team-mates and City players such as Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte have paid tribute this week.
“It’s been a really tough week,” Wilcox told the Daily Mail.
“Jeremy was a very well-liked boy. Our sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers go to Jeremy’s family.”
City midfielder Cole Palmer, 18, made his Champions League debut against Marseille on Tuesday and dedicated the victory to his former team-mate.
While Manchester United striker Mason Greenwood, 19, also tweeted “that one was for you bro. RIP Jeremy Wisten” after he scored against RB Leipzig on Wednesday.
Former Blackburn winger Wilcox added: “I want to go on record about the number of messages we’ve received from academy directors, the FA, the Premier League, the sense of grief that we all feel as a football community. The support and outpouring has been overwhelming.
“The way our players and staff have reacted, I’m extremely proud of them all. I can’t speak highly enough of the players, their families and our staff. It is a time we all get together and show our strength as a community.”
City Under-18s play Blackburn in the FA Youth Cup semi-final at St George’s Park on Friday and the Mail report a minute’s silence will be held before the match.
“The biggest mark of respect we can show Jeremy is they go out and perform like they can, play our way and conduct themselves in a really professional way,” added Wilcox.
“That is the legacy they want to leave, irrespective of the result.”
Wisten, who was born in Malawi, played for City’s youth teams after joining the club in 2016 until May 2019.
In a statement to the Manchester Evening News, his parents said he had “enjoyed” his time at City, but a knee injury derailed his progress.
“He did recover but then had not played enough football the year prior to be considered for the next level,” his father Manila said. “Of course it was very frustrating for him.
“He went for trials elsewhere but because he hadn’t played much football it proved very difficult. He enjoyed his time at Manchester City very much.
“We are very grateful for the opportunity they gave our son.”