Pre-season 2021/22: Man City vs Preston North End - Ones To Watch

Manchester City’s preparations for the new 2021/22 campaign will go up a gear on Tuesday night, as they welcome Championship side Preston North End to the Academy Stadium for a pre-season friendly.
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Benjamin Mendy, Riyad Mahrez and Fernandhino have all be been pictured participating in Pep Guardiola’s first week of pre-season sessions, with Nathan Ake, Zack Steffen, Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo returning to the City Football Academy on Monday.

The Blues will travel to Wembley on August 7th to face Leicester in the Community Shield, before returning to North London a week later, to kick-off their Premier League title defence against Tottenham.

Coronavirus quarantine restrictions have led to the cancellation of Manchester City’s planned trip to ES Troyes AC - making Tuesday’s pre-season match against Preston their only warm-up fixture before the traditional curtain raiser to the season against the Foxes in a fortnight.

Participation in the latter stages of the European Championships and Copa America mean Pep Guardiola will be without the majority of his first-team on Tuesday, providing youngsters from last season’s Premier League 2 title winning side the opportunity to try and catch the eye of the City boss ahead the new season.

Preston, who had a fantastic end to their 2020/21 season, came up against the Premier League Champions for the first time since 2007 in the 2019/20 Carabao Cup, where City came out eventual 3-0 winners.

Benjamin Mendy, Riyad Mahrez and Fernandinho are all expected to get some minutes on Tuesday, but a number of the EDS squad members, as well as those who spent last season on-loan, may also feature.

As the Blues prepare to face Frankie McAvoy’s Preston side on Tuesday evening at the Academy Stadium, we took a look at some of the Manchester City players to potentially keep an eye out for during this upcoming friendly.


Yan Couto

19 year-old right-back Yan Couto joined Manchester City in 2020 and has been subject to transfer speculation in the past week, with Celtic reportedly wanting to sign the Brazilian on-loan.

The teenager is one of the club’s hottest prospects, and was pictured taking part in pre-season training last week. Couto spent the 2020/21 season in Spain with City’s sister club Girona, where the teenager made 30 appearances.

The Brazilian, who joined from Coritiba last summer and helped Brazil to the U17s World Cup, had an incredibly impressive season in Spain.

Manchester City supporters could therefore see this highly rated full-back make his debut for the Premier League champions on Tuesday night.


Cole Palmer

Teenager Palmer made his senior debut last season, and after another stellar campaign with the Manchester City EDS squad, one would hope to see the 19-year old from Wythenshawe feature at the Academy Stadium on Tuesday, but also at Wembley next weekend.

Palmer, who had 19 direct goal involvements in 16 Premier League 2 matches last season, recently signed a new five-year contract with the club, having made his first-team debut against Burnley in the Carabao Cup last September.


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Liam Delap

Delap is a striker wanted by a number of Championship managers this summer, but Tuesday night could provide the 18 year-old with the opportunity to cement his place in first-team squad for the new season.

The Blues are yet to sign a new forward, despite being strongly linked with Spurs striker Harry Kane. As a result, Delap could find himself playing a part in the opening weeks of Manchester City’s season, having scored 30 goals in 27 appearances in all competitions last year.

Delap burst onto the scene last season, as the 18 year-old started and scored versus Bournemouth, before being handed his Premier League debut against Leicester three days later.

The teenager is an athletic, versatile and traditional centre-forward, with an eye for goal and fantastic aerial ability. He scored 24 goals in 20 matches under Enzo Maresca’s title winning team last season, and is guaranteed to be a future serial goalscorer for the club.


Romeo Lavia

Last month it was reported that EDS Player Of The Year, Romeo Lavia would be promoted to the Manchester City first-team following an outstanding first year at the club.

Personally, this is the player I am most excited to hopefully see.

This 17 year-old defensive midfield is intelligent, fast paced, skilful and also has wonderful awareness; something epitomised by his involvement in the Elite Development squads thrashing of Manchester United last season.

The Belgian has the opportunity to learn under Fernandinho for the next 12 months, and one should be very excited about his future as we hope to see him feature on Tuesday evening and sometime during the new season.


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Shea Charles

After being pictured in pre-season training last week, 17 year-old centre-back Shea Charles is my wildcard pick for the upcoming friendly against Preston on Tuesday.

The teenager has been with the club’s academy since the age of eight, and was highly praised last season for his crucial role in the Manchester City U18s defence, as he clocked over 2,000 minutes, with 24 appearances in the U18 Premier League.

On many occasions last season, Charles showed himself to be a fantastic ball playing defender. The partial closure of the CFA due to positive COVID cases, which has hugely impacted Pep Guardiola’s planning for the match, could provide the centre-back with some minutes in midweek. 


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