James McAtee: The Only Way Is Up
Image from Daily Mail.
James McAtee is one of City’s rising stars, the 18-year-old attacking midfielder has featured heavily for City EDS and has trained with the first team many times now. McAtee, born in Salford, has been at the club since under-11s level and has risen through the ranks, impressing many along the way!
In terms of McAtee’s style of play, he can play in a number of positions high up the pitch, although I believe his best position is wide of a front three, or playing in a similar role to that of first-team star Kevin De Bruyne, as a mezzala. McAtee’s best assets, in my opinion, are off the ball. Last month I saw him, and City EDS take on Scunthorpe United in the EFL Trophy, and there were a few things I was impressed with by McAtee.
Firstly, McAtee’s off the ball awareness and movements were very mature. At some points in the match he was on the ball a lot, constantly buzzing around and receiving the ball, but at others, he was the winger on the opposite side of the field, and he knew that his responsibility then was to stay wide and stretch the Scunthorpe defence, which he did to great effect. When McAtee was more involved in the play, he was one step ahead of the defenders, his technical ability is, as it must be in City’s academy, impeccable.
McAtee also had long stretches of the game in the centre of the pitch, which allowed him to showcase his ability to retain and progress the ball in the final third, even when surrounded almost completely in opposition men.
Image from MEN.
James’ striking instincts were also on display at Sands Venue Arena, with him being in the right place at the right time to tap-in after Cole Palmer’s shot was saved by the keeper, earning himself a goal to top off a solid performance from the young man.
This season, we may be expecting to see some cameos from the England youth international this season, with him set to follow a similar path to now-England-star Phil Foden, slowly building experience and minutes in the first team, hopefully leading to a first team spot for him.
I am excited for McAtee’s future, and this season could be the breakout year for him!
Written by Tom Caldwell/@TomCaldwell_.