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Despite being one of the most highly rated young players at the club, it's hard to see how Taylor Harwood-Bellis will fit into Manchester City's squad upon the end of his loan deal with Championship club Burnley. 

It would have been hard enough for the 20-year-old to force his way into the team with Ruben Dias, Nathan AkeAymeric Laporte and John Stones all ahead of him but the addition of Manuel Akanji will have made things even more challenging for the youngster. 

And Akanji's fine start to life in Manchester can't have helped Harwood-Bellis' prospects, either. 

Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Burnley, Hull City

Since joining the club on deadline day, the Swiss centre-back has played the entirety of every game he has been available for and he has looked like a worthy addition to the squad in those matches. 

And after seeing Stones leave the pitch through injury in England's 3-3 draw with Germany, the signing of Akanji now seems more than justified. 

However, it remains to be seen what this will mean for Harwood-Bellis when he returns from his loan at Burnley, where he has impressed thus far under the tutelage of Cityzens legend Vincent Kompany. 

Speaking about his first-team ambitions and future prospects, the young centre-back told The Times“I just focus on doing my job at Burnley. I can only do so much from my part, I will keep putting in performances and doing my best. Whatever happens, happens.

Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Burnley

"If I break into (first-team at) City, then I have achieved my goals but if not I go down another route."

While the youngster does seem fairly relaxed about his future, he did admit that he was concerned to see his parent club sign another centre-back. "Obviously it is difficult seeing them sign another centre-half but if you see the quality of the centre-half they have signed it is a difficult one," he said. 

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"He is unreal, along with the other ones. Everyone knows it is difficult but, to be fair, I just focus on what I have to do with Burnley and hopefully get Burnley promoted.

“I have never doubted myself that if I get a chance I would take it, but for me personally the best thing was to go on loan especially with the manager being Vincent Kompany as well. We are playing a similar way to City and I feel I have made a good decision, we will see where it goes next season.”

Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Burnley

Author's Verdict

Ultimately, it seems that another loan spell away would be the likeliest scenario for Harwood-Bellis next season, unless City were to sell any of their current centre-backs. 

It doesn't seem feasible that the 20-year-old will be able to push himself up the hierarchy in central defence with so many established senior players already occupying positions there. 

What could also be another solution to the Harwood-Bellis conundrum would be to sell the centre-back permanently but include a buy-back option in the deal, as City have done with many of the young players they have sold this season. 

This way, the youngster could have some stability at one club for an extended period of time and continue to develop, but he could head back to the Etihad if he flourishes into an elite-level centre-back. 


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