Exciting Academy prospect John Guidetti is keeping his feet on the ground after making a big impact at reserve team level.
Last Monday night the 17-year-old Swedish striker knocked in a hat-trick against an experienced Burnley backline that included another product of the Platt Lane production line in Stephen Jordan as well as the wily Graham Alexander.
That display continued a fine run of form that has included getting the nod as player of the tournament in the Al Ain International Championship in Abu Dhabi, won by City’s Under 18 side.
But John was modest when reflecting on a good night’s work:
“The team performed very, very well to beat a side as strong as Burnley, especially with so many young ones out there for us. I got to stick some in the back of the net, but that’s not the most important thing.," he declared.
"What’s important is that it was a brilliant performance, and we won! I was really happy for the rest of the lads because I thought they put in a great display.
“Playing in the first team is every footballer’s dream, of course. That’s my dream, but you have to be realistic and I am going to take it one stage at a time. I’ll keep working hard and if I get another chance for the reserves I’ll just give it my absolute best.”
After arriving at the Academy just under two years ago, John not only made an impact at youth level, but also in last season’s Totesport League.
A City side took part in the competition to give the younger players, like John, some experience against seasoned professionals to bridge the gap between the under 18s and reserve team football.
Looking back on the Totesport League experience, John added: “It was good for me because it was a more physical form of the game and you’re playing against men. Like when I came up against Efe Sodje, he’s played in a World Cup, is very strong and was really tough to play against but you learn from that kind of experience.
Now, having come up to reserve level I think I’ve performed quite well because of those games I played last year, where I had to be more physical and get stronger.
"At Academy level you come up against top-drawer players, but at reserve level you have to be more physical, which is a side of the game you need to cope with in top-level football.
“I learned a lot (from the Totesport League), but it’s not just a matter of where you are, it’s what you learn from whatever level you’re playing in.”
City’s manager at the time of John’s arrival was Sven-Goran Eriksson, and the youngster happily admits that his fellow Swede’s presence influenced his decision to come to the Blues.
“That was a big factor for me. Sven had the attitude of ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’, and that really motivated me and helped me come here," he recalled.
"They have given so many Academy players a chance here, its fantastic place to be for young players. I could see that it was a good thing how many players were coming through from the Academy, it looked like a brilliant club and it’s been great for me.”
*John's rich vein of form continued on Saturday when he scored twice in the Under 18 side's 5-1 win over Blackburn Rovers, although he was outdone by Joan Roman, who bagged a hat-trick!