As the new campaign has just begun, I questioned a selection of journalists and media figures about which youngsters they feel might impress this season. Here is what they said:
James Ducker, Northern Football Correspondent of The Times newspaper: I rate Abdul Razak a lot, as does Mancini, and it’d be nice to see him given more of a go next season. Jose Angel Pozo is only 16 and too young for the first team yet but keep an eye on him, he could be a star. Real Madrid were absolutely gutted to lose him to City.
Alistair Mann, Match of the Day and CityTV commentator: I saw Denis Suarez a couple of times in pre-season and I am hugely impressed. He is as quick with his feet as he clearly is in his mind and has balance and poise to match. There is an international midfielder there for sure.
Daniel Taylor, Chief football writer for the Guardian: I don’t think we will see any youngsters breaking into the team. I know there are some talented ones on the fringes but I just don’t see it. Unless there are a lot of injuries to the regular first-team players.
Rob Dawson, Football writer covering Man City and Man United for the Manchester Evening News: If City don’t add a midfielder to replace Owen Hargreaves and David Pizarro it could be a breakthrough year for Abdul Razak after an encouraging pre-season. If he keeps progressing as he has been, he’s going to be a fine player.
Mike Keegan, Sports News Correspondent for the Manchester Evening News: I spoke to Atillio Lombardo after the friendly at Oldham and he said it was his mission to make sure one player graduates from the EDS to the Etihad this season. Luca Scapuzzi impressed in the early stages of his loan spell at Boundary Park last year but was shifted to the wing where he made less of an impact. It will be interesting to see how he fares if he is loaned out again. At 22, Ryan McGivern will also be looking to make an impact this year. He has a stack of loan appearances under his belt and it could be a make or break season. I know that great things are expected of Jordi Hiwula and it would be great to see a local lad burst onto the scene although it might be a bit too soon for him.
Chris Cohen, Presenter and producer for Sky, ESPN and more: Not so much a youngster but I’d love to see Adam Johnson get more of a run in the team this season. I rate him highly and I think he deserves a real run to establish himself as the force I think he can be. I’d like to see Abdi Ibrahim find his way in to the starting line up too.. maybe in a cup campaign. He’s a strong, Vieira-esque midfielder who will, I’m sure, be a great deputy to Yaya eventually.
Iain Macintosh, Football writer for The New Paper and others: I’d like to see Stefan Savic settle. I felt so sorry for the kid last year. He never looked comfortable and everything he did seemed to go wrong. He’s obviously got something, he just needs to calm down.
Ian Ladyman, Northern Football correspondent for the Daily Mail: It’s hard to see any youngsters making an impression on Mancini’s first team, to be honest. I would anticipate further progress from Micah Richards, though.
Oliver Kay, Chief Football Correspondent for The Times newspaper: I don’t think City are at a stage where the manager is able to devote much time to developing younger players. I don’t see many of the youngsters getting much playing time. John Guidetti could make a big impact as a back-up striker, but only if one or two of Tevez, Dzeko or Balotelli are moved on. Likewise Denis Suarez. Guidetti and Suarez are the two that people at City always mention to me, but I suspect Suarez in particular might be better off going on loan.