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Josh Wilson-Esbrand can be Manchester City’s Cancelo heir

Following the departure of Oleksandr Zinchenko to Arsenal this summer, much was made about who Manchester City would bring in as the Ukrainian’s replacement.

Despite being a natural right-back, Joao Cancelo has been Pep Guardiola’s first-choice at left-back for some time now, with Zinchenko filling in there on occasion last term.

Guardiola needed a back-up to the Portugal international on the left-hand side and the Citizens were linked with a host of names such as Borna Sosa, Rayan Ait-Nouri and Raphael Guerreiro after they missed out on Marc Cucurella to Chelsea.

Eventually, Guardiola brought in Sergio Gomez from Anderlecht, but reports have suggested that he could leave on loan once the manager has had time to assess the 21-year-old.

However, should Gomez leave on loan and Cancelo get injured, Guardiola would still have one more trick up his sleeve in the form of Josh Wilson-Esbrand.

The 19-year-old academy graduate was a regular in pre-season for City and has been name-checked by Guardiola a number of times when discussing defensive options.

Does Wilson-Esbrand have a future at City?

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Yes

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After an impressive performance in the 1-0 win against Bayern Munich in pre-season, the 51-year-old was full of praise for the teenage defender, saying: “He’s aggressive to win the duels and with the ball is so clever, he has a good 1 v 1 defender and doesn’t feel the pressure with the ball.

“Today was an example of how our back four were pressed but didn’t lose much of the ball. He did a really good game. If we can control his injuries, we will have a full back for many years.”

The fact that Wilson-Esbrand is comfortable in possession and ‘clever’ with the ball immediately suggests that he could perform a similar role to the attack-minded Cancelo in the future.

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The England under-20 international managed just 14 appearances in Premier League 2 last season due to the aforementioned injury issues but has clearly impressed, starting on the bench in each of City’s games so far this season.

His only senior appearance came in the 6-1 win against Wycombe Wanderers in the Carabao Cup last term, so he will be hoping for more appearances in cup competitions in the current campaign.

While we are unlikely to see Wilson-Esbrand usurp Cancelo at left-back anytime soon, the Englishman clearly has a bright future and is highly rated at the Etihad Stadium, so fans may be hoping to see a lot more of him this season.

Considering that Kyle Walker will turn 33 during the campaign, we could see Cancelo revert to right-back once the ex-Spurs defender leaves City, which could open the door for Wilson-Esbrand to take over from the former Juventus ace on the left-hand side of defence.

Article title: Josh Wilson-Esbrand can be Manchester City’s Cancelo heir

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