Promising Players in Manchester City's Youth Team to Keep an Eye on
Manuel Pellegrini has made use of the vast resources on offer at new employers Manchester City this summer, splashing over £80 million on four players to bolster his first-team squad as he looks to lead the blue half of Manchester to the Premier League summit in 2013-14.
Nonetheless, the experienced Chilean coach admitted earlier this summer that part of his remit as City boss will be to nurture youth talent and to eventually promote players into the first-team, as reported by the Daily Mail's Ian Ladyman:
We have to have a different style in the club and that is why I am here. It is impossible every year to buy three, four, five players. We need to work with young players, the under 21's, said Pellegrini.
As a coach, of course we always want immediate success. We are trying to have a strong squad in all positions. If that will bring us trophies, perfect, we have more chances to win that way.
In the same way we are working with young players and we will continue to do that.
As such, City, like many Premier League sides, have a solid nucleus of talent in their Elite Development Squad ahead of the new season. That's not to say they have a raft of world stars in the making, but certainly a number of players who will have a bright future in the game.
Here's a look at a five promising talents who may be worth keeping an eye in in the coming months.
A 17-year-old attacking midfielder, Brazilian-born Marcos Lopes is a Portuguese under-19 international— he moved to Portugal aged four—who arrived in Manchester in 2011, joining City from Portuguese club Benfica.
Lopez has already put his name in lights with the Citizens, making his City debut in January against Watford in the FA Cup third round as a late substitute and scoring just two minutes after his introduction. The goal made Lopes the youngest scorer in the club's history.
Affectionately known as Rony, he was the club's inaugural Academy Player of the Year in 2012-13, winning a public vote after impressing with his tenacious dribbling and eye for a shot with his powerful left foot.
He played his part as Portugal's under-19 squad reached the European Championship semi-finals this July, making four appearances and scoring one goal.
Jose Angel Pozo
Hailing from Malaga, Jose Angel Pozo joined City last summer, moving to the Premier League champions from Spanish giants Real Madrid, having agreed to the move six months previously.
Despite only being 16/17 during the 2012-13 season, Pozo finished the campaign as City's top scorer at under-21 level, in spite of both an ankle injury ending his season prematurely and the fact that he was sometimes playing against opponents four or five years his senior.
Despite his diminutive stature—Pozo presently stands at little over 5'7"—the young Spaniard has been heavily impressive for the development squad playing more often than not as a support striker.
Blessed with wonderful acceleration, sharp technique and a splendid appreciation for a pass (a la David Silva) the young forward has plenty of promise and has been a part of the Spanish under-16 setup over the last year.
Born in Paris, 18-year-old Seko Fofana joined City's academy in January, putting pen to paper on a three-year contract having decided to leave French club Lorient.
A France under-18 international, Fofana is a dynamic box-to-box midfielder—somewhat in the mould of Yaya Toure—who is every bit as liable to be making a strong challenge on the edge of his own penalty area as he his driving through the centre of the field.
Additionally, the Frenchman is decent technically, a tidy passer who enjoys firing at goal from distance. Having made a few appearances for the development squad last season, he's expected to have a greater impact in 2013-14.
The 19-year-old Spaniard has two senior appearances for City— both in the League Cup over the past two seasons—but the former Celta Vigo youngster is still to make the progression to first-team level on a more permanent basis.
Subsequently, the Spanish under-20 international has recently been linked with a move away from Manchester, with the Daily Mail reporting that Barcelona are interested in taking him back to his homeland.
A gifted playmaker, Suarez mixes an aptitude for keeping possession with intelligent midfield and a fleet-footedness which enables him to extricate himself from the tightest of positions.
Versatile enough to play both centrally and on either flank, although he may still be considered physically lightweight by some, Suarez has all the attributes to become a star, be it at City or elsewhere.
Another young French prospect, midfielder Jules Ntcham arrived at the Etihad last summer from the renowned Le Havre academy. Now 17, Ntcham is 12 months into a four-year deal with the Citizens.
An intelligent user of the ball, Ntcham mixes an ability to pass creatively and decisively along with a physical prowess.
A France under-17 international, Ntcham is expected to mix time in the coming campaign between both the City under-18 and under-21 sides.
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