Five Man City youngsters who could have a big 2023

Man City have an academy that is full to the brim with talented youngsters, all waiting for their chance in the first team.

Unfortunately, though, this means that some may fall by the wayside, as their squad is packed with world class players. Despite this, the likes of Phil Foden, and more recently Cole Palmer and Liam Delap, have broken into the first team.

Here, we consider five more Man City starlets to keep an eye on in 2023 and beyond.

Rico Lewis, 18

First up on our list of Man City youngsters to look out for is an 18-year-old who is already in the first-team fold. Right-back Rico Lewis has made eight appearances under Pep Guardiola this term across three competitions.

He has played 90 minutes in both of City’s Carabao Cup games, holding his own against Chelsea, then Liverpool. The England U19 star has deputised excellently in City’s injury-hit full-back department, becoming a regular squad member in the process.

Lewis is an accomplished passer and the sort of technically gifted player that Guardiola loves to use. Additionally, the manager will also like his tenacity to win the ball back and good reading of the game.

The teenager is not afraid to pick up unorthodox positions in order to get on the ball, too. For instance, although at right-back, Lewis kept the ball moving frequently during the 3-2 win over Liverpool by finding space in the middle of the pitch. This is similar to the role which Joao Cancelo does regularly for the first team.

Finally, Rico Lewis has even scored this season, finding the net in a Champions League win over Sevilla. Expect to see more of this talented player as the Citizens’ season progresses.  

Carlos Borges, 18

Portuguese winger Carlos Borges has been absolutely prolific in City’s academy so far this season. He already has three hat-tricks in 2022/23, including a four-goal haul against Man United.

Across all competitions, Borges has 16 goals and 11 assists from just 18 appearances – an incredible return.

Predominantly playing from the left wing, Borges beats defenders with his quick feet and lightning-fast first step. His directness when running with the ball then puts him in numerous situations in which to create chances.

However, his passing – in particular his crossing – is arguably an underappreciated side to Borges’ game that deserves praise.

Following his brilliant start to 2022/23, the Portuguese youngster played with the Man City first team in a friendly against Girona. With such a good record in the academy, Borges should see opportunities open up for him soon.

Adedire Mebude, 18

In similarity to Carlos Borges, Scotland U19 winger Adedire Mebude has been on a tear for City’s elite development squad this year.

Last season, Mebude shone in the U18 Premier League with 29 goal contributions from 20 matches. He has then followed this up with six goals and three assists so far in PL 2 this campaign.

An explosive attacker, Mebude glides past opponents with ease thanks to his silky-smooth footwork. His devastating turn of pace is not a bad attribute to have at the top level, either.

Furthermore, the teen’s great first touch and quality with either foot suggest that Mebude could become a rounded attacking threat. Although it is difficult to break into City’s star-studded attack, the winger could make his debut in 2023.

Shea Charles, 19

Man City U21 captain Shea Charles is next up on our list of youngsters. He boasts the credential of being an international footballer having made his Northern Ireland debut in June.

Charles made four appearances for Northern Ireland in the Nations League, starting twice. This is very impressive considering he is yet to make his full Man City debut yet. However, he did play in City’s December friendly vs Girona.

The holding midfielder is a mainstay in the sky blue’s U21 side, starting every game so far this campaign. He is also versatile, though, as he is able to play in the heart of a back four. The 19-year-old actually impressed at centre-half during the Girona game, earning praise from Paul Dickov.

Thanks to his great range of passing and defensive prowess, Charles could end up as a handy understudy to Rhodri in the coming months. Whether Pep Guardiola affords him the chance to play in the first team remains to be seen.

Joel Ndala, 16

 Finally, rounding out our list is a youngster already earning plaudits nationally. Winger Joel Ndala made The Guardian’s “Next Generation 2022” list of talented prospects in Premier League academies.

Ndala is a dynamic winger, adept with the ball at his feet as an accomplished dribbler. He is also a good finisher as a result of his keen eye for goal. Despite being just 16, Ndala is showing great promise in City’s U18 squad, racking up 10 goal contributions in the U18 Prem.

Additionally, he popped up at the right time during Man City’s UEFA Youth League campaign. For instance, Ndala changed the game as a late sub in their match against Borussia Dortmund. He won a late penalty to help draw City level. Then, the tricky winger scored the winner as the English side claimed a 3-2 victory.

Joel Ndala is standing out whilst playing up age groups and is definitely a Man City youngster to look out for in the future. For now, unfortunately, he is unlikely to get minutes under Pep Guardiola.

Watch this space, though.

Featured image credit: Getty