EDS & Academy

Braaf still growing, says Harsley

City EDS boss Paul Harsley has hailed the impressive start to the season made by our very own flying Dutchman, Jayden Braaf.

The Dutch teenager has made a superb opening to the new campaign with City’s youngsters and served up an electric display in the Ukraine on Wednesday, helping inspire our Under-19s to a fine 3-1 win at Shakhtar Donetsk in our opening UEFA Youth League encounter where he was involved in all three goals.

That followed hard on the heels of another man-of-the-match performance in last week’s impressive 2-0 Leasing.com Trophy success at Rochdale where Braaf both scored a wonderful goal and provided an assist.

But Harsley believes that with Braaf, who moved to City in the summer of 2018 from PSV Eindhoven, having only just turned 17 and still growing and developing both physically and professionally, there is even more to come.

READ: Shakhtar Donetsk U19s 1-3 City | Match report

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“Jayden’s a real handful for opposition full-backs when we can give him the ball and he’s got space to go and run at them,” said Harsley.

“You can see with the goals he has scored and the chances he has created that – whether he goes outside or inside - he gives opposition defences all sorts of problems .

“He has performed well - along with all of the rest of them.

“Jayden has only just turned 17 and though he is still growing, it’s incredible to see his physique.

BOYS IN BLUE : City celebrate our opening goal away at Shakhtar
BOYS IN BLUE : City celebrate our opening goal away at Shakhtar

“He has come on and it’s amazing to see but it’s what they do at that age. They still have growth in them – we’ve got to see what they can be and help them develop and Jayden is a prime example.

“As I say, he’s still only 17 and growing all the time but he’s doing very well.

“With our style of play, it’s always good to have strong, athletic players out wide and he’s been alright for us!

“We had it last year in the wide areas with Rabbi Matondo and Ian Carlo Poveda and this season we’ve also got Morgan Rogers.”

In the wake of both the victory over Shakhtar and last week’s success against League One Rochdale, Harsley also praised the work ethic of his young charges.

MANAGER'S NOTES : Paul Harsley delivers instructions during the win over Shakhtar
MANAGER'S NOTES : Paul Harsley delivers instructions during the win over Shakhtar

And he said their willingness to press and harry the opposition whenever we don’t have possession was another key component of their learning and development.

“The lads are at a club where we have got the best manager in the world and they have the opportunity to train with the first team,” Harsley added

“They dominate the ball and we all know the lads can do it as they are technically very proficient players.

READ: Jayden Braaf | I'm learning from Sterling and Sane

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“So then it’s about if they’re younger to have to get about the pitch and defend.

“We sometimes let too many goals in on our off days but it’s because they are still learning. They are used to having the ball all the time - now it’s the first challenge where they come up against older players in PL2 and the Leasing.com Trophy where it’s a tough challenge but that’s how they learn.

“It's good for them to feel under pressure and under stress.”