James McAtee has started the season in superb fashion for Manchester City’s academy and the 18-year-old could even prove to be the next David Silva in the future.
The attacking midfielder is a regular for City’s under-23 side despite being just 18 and looks set to be a part of Pep Guardiola’s first team in the future if he can maintain his recent superb form.
The playmaker, who is nicknamed the ‘Salford Silva’, attracted heavy interest from Championship clubs during the recent transfer window but City were clearly keen to keep him at the Etihad, with Guardiola suggesting recently: “Liam Delap, Cole Palmer, James McAtee, Luke Mbete, Romeo Lavia. There are five or six guys who will be with us.”
So far this season, McAtee has six goals and one assist in just three appearances in Premier League 2, with new academy manager Brian Barry-Murphy hugely impressed with his performances as he sang his praises recently, saying: “I think there is loads of his game he can still develop, and he’ll know that as he’s a very intelligent player.
“But the way he’s working in sync with the rest of the team is great for me because it’s very valuable.”
“I’m in the very early stages of getting to know James but I think he’s conscious of the fact he wants to get into positions where he can score goals.”
If McAtee can have anywhere near the influence that Silva had during his time at Manchester City in the future, then he will surely prove to be a hugely popular player at the Etihad Stadium.
The Spanish magician contributed 77 goals and 141 assists for the Citizens in 436 appearances and recently had a statue unveiled outside the Etihad, which literally solidifies his status as a Manchester City legend.
Therefore, City fans will be hoping that McAtee can live up to his nickname, and if his performances with the academy continue, they surely won’t have too long to wait before seeing him make his first team debut.