As a young Swede with an eye for goal, and having taken his first footballing steps at Malmo FF, it’s perhaps no surprise Zackarias Faour names Zlatan Ibrahimovic as one of his idols.
However, while his country’s most famous sporting export now plies his trade in Paris, Zack now has the opportunity to learn from one of his heroes at close quarters.
The 16-year-old told mcfc.co.uk: “I really like Zlatan Ibrahimovic of course – we are from the same area of Sweden. But I have always admired Samir Nasri ever since he was playing with Marseille, so it’s amazing to see him here at City too.”
An exciting forward who constantly seeks to cause havoc in the 18 yard box, Zack has his family to thank for his attacking aptitude and fledgling footballing career – as well as a youthful excess of energy.
He revealed: “I started playing football for Malmo FF when I was four a and half because my brother started and I was very active – I had to move, I couldn’t sit at home, so my Mum and Dad thought football was great for me. Malmo FF was the best team in Malmo so they took me there first and I loved it so I just kept going.
“When I got to 11 or so, and got a bit bigger, I started to take it more seriously because I wanted football to be my life. I played in two tournaments in Holland and Sweden and City were there looking at me. I played really well and got top scorer in both tournaments, so they wanted to sign me.”
The Swede’s talent in front of goal brought him to the attention of a multitude of clubs around Europe, all keen to prise the youngster away from his native Malmo.
He admits that swapping Scandinavia for Manchester was daunting at first, but the chance to continue his development at the new City Football Academy proved too tempting for the youngster to resist.
Faour explained: “First of all, the new facilities at the CFA was a big reason for me to join. Plus, it just felt right. When I came over it felt like a family – me and my parents, we could feel that as soon as we came.”
Discussing his first impressions of the site, he added: “I am still trying to process it. It’s magnificent, too nice! It’s hard to beat - I think they have to be the best facilities in the world.”
The media spotlight shone brightly on the youngster as news of the proposed move hit the press, but Faour refused to be daunted by the attention.
Smiled Zack: “I just took it positively, it was fun! I didn’t feel pressure.”
The forward has long since been on the radar of his country’s national team scouts, and Zack has already turned out 13 times for Sweden’s youth teams before being eligible for a driving licence, playing with his own age group and those 12 months’ older.
He collected a first international medal with Sweden u17s this summer as a key member of the squad that emerged victorious at the 2014 Nordic Tournament.
Involved in every single one of his country’s matches in the competition, Faour capped a memorable summer by scoring the opening goal in the final against Norway – finishing past City teammate Kjetil Haug, who was in goal for the Norwegians.
“It was beautiful to win the Nordic Tournament - it was the first tournament I’ve won with Sweden which was great,” he declared. “I had moved up and played with the 1997s but then I came back to play with my own age group – we had a new coach so it was good to play with the all the other players and win.
“To represent your home country is a proud moment.
“It was fantastic to score in the final [past Kjetil]. Of course, I had a joke with him about it, but not just him – with all the Norwegian guys.”
Now back in Manchester, the focus remains firmly on developing and succeeding in City blue.
The forward hit the ground running in his debut season with the u18s, scoring in each of his two pre-season friendlies, and coming off the bench to find the net on his competitive debut against Blackburn Rovers on the opening day of the league campaign.
He has since netted three times in 11 appearances for Jason Wilcox’s side, and is always looking to improve and add more goals to his tally, with the help of his Premier League winning manager.
Said the Swede: “My aim this year is just to score goals! I am learning a lot with Jason - every day I learn something new. His advice to me is just to tell me to be a little bit stronger, because sometimes I am too nice.
“He says in the box, don’t be nice, you have to be thinking that you are going to score and no one else can touch the ball.”