5 Manchester City Players Who Must Shine in Pre-Season Friendlies
The summer break for professional footballers is extremely short. It is hard to believe that preseason friendlies have already begun, and that the season is right around the corner.
While preseason fixtures are important for regaining fitness, there are five Blues that I believe must make an impression in order to secure roles for the 2012/2013 season.
Carlos Tevez became a castaway last season, as he isolated himself in Argentina while his team battled week in and out. Tevez is an incredibly-talented striker, but with Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko all fighting for spots, he'll have to shine in order to reclaim his place in the side.
In terms of skill, work ethic and finishing, Tevez and his Argentinian counterpart, Aguero, should be City's top-two strikers. However, he will have to show Mancini that he is committed to this side and also show why he should start ahead of Mario Balotelli, who had a very impressive 2012 Euro, and Edin Dzeko.
Kolarov has made it clear that he wants first team football in 2012/13. He has stated:
"I am very happy here in Manchester, but my goal is to play with greater regularity. I said it to Roberto Mancini."
Aleksander Kolarov has an incredible boot and a great ability to push forward, but his defense has been subject in the past.
With Gael Clichy currently ahead of him in the pecking order, Kolarov must show early in preseason why he deserves more time on the pitch when City defends their title this season.
Stefan Savic was thrown into the fire very early in Manchester last season. Too much was asked of this young defender, much too quickly.
With Kolo Toure suspended and struggling to regain match fitness, Savic was thrust into the lineup as Manchester City's third central back. His play wasn't great and he looked out of place.
However, that being said, there is still much hope and optimism surrounding Stefan Savic. He has the potential to be a very good young back. With an impressive off season, Savic could prove to Mancini that he can fill the role of being a third or fourth center back on this side.
Vladimir Weiss has possibly the biggest upside of any Manchester City youngster in the squad, apart from John Guidetti.
Weiss has spent the past three seasons on loan with Bolton, Rangers and Espanyol. Weiss, who will be turning 23 in November, will likely be reaching a crossroads of his career before the season begins.
This may be his last chance of cracking a Manchester City side that, while stacked full of talent, has only one true winger. Weiss could fill the role of being that natural winger that Manchester City desperately needs.
Only if he can prove he belongs with Manchester City this season, that is. This is his chance to stay with the big club, or possibly be forgotten as excess.
Nigel De Jong
The last player who must prove himself ahead of the upcoming English Premier League season is the (once) hard tackling Dutch midfielder, Nigel De Jong.
De Jong saw a drop off of playing time last season that was unquestionably a result of his play. He was rarely heavy into tackles and didn't dominate his opponents.
With continued rumors of Roberto Mancini eyeing Daniele de Rossi, De Jong could be considered excess to the club.
De Jong must prove that he can be a valued part of a winning club, since he has made his name by winning balls and making the middle of the park a war zone. He must return to doing what he is best at in order to fit into Roberto Mancini's plans.