Performance might be secondary to fitness levels at this stage but City still managed to turn in a solid showing in their first pre-season encounter against Adelaide United.
Humphreys earns captain’s praise
16-year old Cameron Humphreys was already pinching himself at just being included in the travelling party for the first-team’s pre-season tour.
Against Adelaide, the New Moston native could have been overawed at the prospect of lining up alongside Vincent Kompany for his senior debut but, instead he turned in a classy 45 minute performance which belied his modest years.
A star of City u18s’ run to the FA Youth Cup final, Humphreys took his opportunity with both hands against Adelaide, showing composure to win the ball without going to ground and demonstrating confidence to bring the ball out of defence.
He didn’t look out of place and has earned the praise of his first-half centre-back partner, Kompany, who said: “There’s no such thing as too young – the fact that Cameron Humphreys is here and training with us shows something. This is the perfect learning curve for him and he’s got a chance to listen to a lot of the lads with more experience.”
Barker takes his chance
In an interview with mcfc.co.uk in the days preceding this first friendly of 2015/16, Droylsden flyer Barker told us that he felt as if he hadn’t done himself justice in his first-team debut against Hamburg in January.
This time, he would have no cause to look back with any regrets as he opening his senior account with a trademark strike after 62 minutes.
It wasn’t just the goal which caught the eye - the youngster was a constant thorn in the side of his marker, utilizing his ability to go either outside or inside, his unconventional gait lending an unpredictable quality to his wing-based dalliances.
Toure in fine fettle
A player with Yaya Toure’s experience in football could be forgiven for adopting autopilot mode at this stage of pre-season but the Ivorian was probably the best player on the pitch against Adelaide.
The four-time African Player of the Year was his usual ball-hungry self, dictating the pace of the game with his metronomic ball recycling at the base of midfield.
Early days, of course, but all signs are pointing towards Yaya having another one of *those* seasons…
City’s got talent…
Barker and Humphreys were not the only two youngsters to impress against Adelaide – others also took their chance to catch Pellegrini’s eye.
George Glendon made his debut in the second half of the game in an unfamiliar right-back role but he provided lung-busting coverage of the right flank and his ability to make overlapping runs past Jesus Navas to put in dangerous crosses was a feature.
Kelechi Iheanacho was a central figure in the first-half, goalscorer Zuculini reminded the manager of his ability after two loan spells away from the club and Seko Fofana certainly made the most of his 45 minutes alongside Fernando and Zuculini in midfield after the break.
Manu Garcia’s technical qualities are well-known to regular EDS watchers but this time he demonstrated another side to his game - tenacity, winning tackles and showing his moxie against players twice his size.
A good workout
A League outfit Adelaide were clearly motivated to give a good account of themselves in this rare opportunity to face an English Premier League side, regardless of the fact that the game was being played in front of no supporters.
Not only were those in Red putting their bodies on the line and matching City stride for stride for long stretches, but they also fashioned a couple of good chances to score in the opening hour before Barker netted his first senior goal.
Next up, City face Melbourne at the CBus Stadium on Saturday where the nine first-teamers who arrived in Australia on Tuesday may feature.
City on Tour 2015, supported by visitabudhabi.ae.