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Delap, Harwood-Bellis and the Man City wonderkids to watch in the FA Youth Cup final
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02-Nov-2020, 03:05 pm

Delap, Harwood-Bellis and the Man City wonderkids to watch in the FA Youth Cup final

Delap Harwood-Bellis Palmer Man City GFX

Following a 4-0 win over Blackburn Rovers on Friday, Manchester City will play in their fifth FA Youth Cup final in the last six years when they face Chelsea on Monday.

This year, though, could present the club's Under-18s with their best chance to lift the trophy for some time, with Pep Guardiola having freed up a number of the team's senior players to take part despite them being involved in the first-team squad.

Liam Delap, Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Cole Palmer all played against Blackburn and will again be free to represent Carlo Vicens' side, with the new coach still getting to grips with his new role after replacing Gareth Taylor over the summer.

He may also be able to call upon his captain Tommy Doyle after the midfielder missed the semi-final victory while highly-rated winger Jayden Braaf is also likely to be available after marking his return from injury with a goal off the bench on Friday.

With that in mind, Guardiola will be watching Monday's encounter with interest, with the Catalan excited by the talent coming through the club's academy.

"When we speak with academy boss Jason Wilcox and the academy people we say this is a good generation," the City boss said ahead of the final.

"Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Tommy Doyle, Cole Palmer, Felix Nmecha, Jayden Braaf, Liam Delap, the left central defender Luke Mbete-Tabu has a good perspective too. There are six, seven interesting players. James McAtee, too.

"We trust them a lot and as the club we want to help them develop. Maybe they can help in the future. Good luck to them on Monday, congratulations for reaching the final, to Carlos the manager and on Monday we will watch to see if they can beat Chelsea.”

Here aresome of the potential stars of the future who will be on show when City take to the field:

A natural goalscorer, it took17-year-old Delap just 18 minutes to find the back of the net when he made his first-team debut in the Carabao Cup victory over Bournemouth in September.

Injuries to Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have meant he has spent much of the season with the first-team squad, and he showed his quality with his superb early strike into the top corner against the Cherries.

Delap, who is the son of former Premier League star and long-throw expert Rory, joined City from Derby Countyjust over a year ago.

He has drawn comparisons with Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland due to his bustling physical style, pace anad ability to regularly get on the scoresheet, just as he did in the semi-final win over Blackburn.

A stylish, ball-playing centre-back, 18-year-old Harwood-Bellis has already made six appearances for the first-team and has been earmarked for an exciting future with the club.

He joined City as an eight-year-old, coming through the same Stockport Metro Junior League that produced team-mate Phil Foden.

Harwood-Bellis has always excelled in his age groups, winning 20 caps as an England schoolboy and captaining his country at U16 and U17 level.

His partnership with emerging central defensive partner Mbete-Tabu gave City a strong platform for their win over Blackburn, and he will again need to show his leadership qualities against Chelsea.

The FA Youth Cup final comes just eight days after18-year-old Palmermade his Champions League debut in City's victory over Marseille.

At over six foottall, Palmer is calm and composed whether driving forward or picking out passes and can play anywhere across midfield or as attacking option from either flank.

Born in Wythenshawelike supremely gifted Manchester United acadmey graduates Marcus Rashford and Ravel Morrison, he has been at City since the age of seven.

Palmer caught the eye of Guardiola, making his debut in the Carabao Cup victory over Burnley, with the City boss concluding he "will bean excpetional talent".

City’s academy has brought through a number of exciting creative midfielders in recent times, and McAtee is following in the footsteps of their most successful homegrown player, Foden.

The 18-year-old has been one of the standout performers for the U23s so farthis season after earning an opportunity due to there beingso many youngsters who have movedup to be part of Guardiola’s first-team plans. In the opening three games of the seasonhe scored three goals and assisted a further two.

He also played as a false-nine against League Two outfitScunthorpe United in the EFL Trophy,claimingtwo more assists in a 4-0 victory over senior opposition.

McAtee has been highly-regarded by coaches since he was picked up from the Manchester United academy and played a key role for the U18s side that won last season'sPremier League Cup and was 12 points clear inthe Northern section when the season was abandoned.

Cumbria seems to be a hotbed for English goalkeepers, with Manchester United’s Dean Henderson and former City and England U17 World Cup winner Curtis Anderson hailing from the county.

Eighteen-year-old Trafford is the next off the conveyor belt, and he often chats to Henderson for advice while also workingregularly with first-team coach Xabier Mancisidor to learn the qualities of Brazilian No.1 Ederson.

It is working well so far, with Trafford a regular for England at U16s, U17s, U18s and now U19s.

Source :

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