• Tom Caldwell

The Four Academy Starters v Preston - Who Are They?

In Manchester City's first, and maybe final, pre-season friendly versus Preston North End, and several youngsters featured for the Citizens, including Iker Pozo, Morgan Rogers, Ben Knight and Cole Palmer all in the starting eleven. This piece is mainly meant for the City fans who are less familiar with these players, although I hope it will still be of interest to those who know these players, as I will explain who these players are and what we can expect of them.

Iker Pozo

Iker Pozo La Rosa is a 20-year-old holding midfielder born in Fuengirola, on the South Coast of Spain. Iker has been at the club since 2012 since he came to us from Real Madrid, when he was just 11. In terms of play style, Pozo is a very 'Pep' holding midfielder, with many of his strengths being in retaining the ball and putting it into wide areas to players who are better equipped to carry the ball up the pitch. Although not shy to the occasional dribble forwards, Pozo plays the Pep way, Take the Ball, Pass the Ball. Pozo also has

Image from twitter

Cole Palmer

Cole Palmer is a 6'3" (190cm) winger who can also occupy an advanced midfield position, born in Manchester, who had caps for England at u15, u16, u17 and u18 level, scoring two for the u18s. Typical to the Manchester City academy, Cole Palmer perfectly fits the mould of the typical winger in City's team, with lots of dynamism and tonnes of technical ability, but looks to be just as good playing in a similar role to Kevin De Bruyne. Palmer's tall figure does give him a unique dribbling style, which has proven very effective at youth level so far, with his dribbling abilities being crucial to his success to City's all-conquering youth team of the past couple of years! The hero of City u18's FA Youth Cup Final triumph v Chelsea, Palmer has bags of potential.

Image from Manchester Evening News

Morgan Rogers

A City youngster who already has first team experience elsewhere is Morgan Rogers, young, technical winger like Palmer. Although like Palmer in many ways, Rogers has spent lots less time than him at the club, with him joining from West Brom in a £3.96m (Source: Transfermarkt) move in 2019. After joining the club and quietly going about his business at youth level, Rogers spent last season (2020/21) out on loan at League One Lincoln City, who ended up reaching the playoff final, narrowly losing to Blackpool. Despite their failure to gain promotion, Rogers quickly became a fan favourite at Sincil Bank, with many of the club's fans wanting Rogers to spend another season at there. For now, this looks unlikely.

Image from BBC Sport

Ben Knight

Benjamin Leo Knight is a young winger who joined City from Ipswich Town in 2018, and has featured for England at four different youth levels, including a game for the u18s in 2019. Knight is, again, a winger that is typical of the City academy at the moment, a few good players coming through in the same mould as Knight. His main qualities are his ability to create something out of nothing, and, like Palmer, his dribbling is very good, the ball always being close to his feet.

Image from Manchester Evening News

Lots to be excited about in this City academy, and it's good to get a glimpse of a few players tonight!

Written by Tom Caldwell