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Introducing… the FA Cup Likely Lads

Manuel Pellegrini has strongly suggested that there will be a number of youngsters involved in the City squad at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

In his pre-Chelsea press conference, the Chilean pointed to Wednesday’s Champions League clash away in Kiev and the fact that he has just 13 fit senior players as the reason why there will be more youth talents involved than normal in West London.

Regular visitors to the Academy Stadium will be well aware of the talent crop of players who could be involved but, for everyone else, here’s an introduction to seven of our starlets who will be vying for an FA Cup audition…

Aleix Garcia

The newest recruit out of all of these fledgling talents, Aleix only joined the club from Villarreal in August 2015.

A Spanish youth international, Aleix is a more defensive-minded player than his namesake Manu, a ball-recyling midfielder who has played as the deepest of a midfield three for Davies in the EDS.

However, defensive responsibilities don’t hold Garcia back from the odd Vine-friendly moment of attacking brilliance, as he proved against Reading when he scored this stunner…

Tosin Adarabioyo

A regular England youth international, this commanding Mancunian defender has ascended the Academy age-groups rapidly and is now a regular member of Simon Davies’s Elite Development Squad backline.

Tosin is a cultured, ball-playing centre-back who was a key member of the under-18s team who clinched the Premier League Northern Division title in 2013/14 and then captained the boy Blues to the FA Youth Cup final last season.


Spanish full-back Angelino (Angel Tasende) once cited Roberto Carlos as his positional idol and it’s easy to see why when you see the 19-year old in action.

City fought off reported interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid to land the attack-minded left-back from Deportivo La Coruna and he has been a regular for the EDS since - until he joined sister club New York City FC on loan in July 2015.

In the US, he made 14 appearances and assisted four goals playing alongside David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo before returning to Manchester at the end of 2015.

Cameron Humphreys

Another highly-rated local defender, Cameron’s name rose to prominence in the summer when he joined City’s pre-season tour party to Australia and Vietnam.

There, at the tender age of 17, he partnered Jason Denayer at Melbourne Cricket Ground and impressed against a Real Madrid frontline comprised of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.

Cameron made his senior City debut in the dying minutes of our 4-0 win over Aston Villa in the last round, replacing Nicolas Otamendi in the 88th minute.

Manu Garcia

One of the more familiar names to more casual observers of our youth sides, Manu Garcia was responsible for what the great Patrick Vieira described as one of his proudest moments at the club.

Garcia was introduced as a late substitute against Crystal Palace back in October and went on to score the fifth and final goal in a 5-1 rout on his debut.

A classy, metronomic playmaker, Manu can either play at the base of midfield or in a more advanced no.10 role.

Equally as tenacious in the tackle as he is attractive on the ball, Manu is a much fancied product of our Academy and was singled out for praise by Manuel Pellegrini following many impressive cameos on the last pre-season tour.

Brandon Barker

England u20 international Brandon Barker has been at the club since he was eight-years old, rising through the age-groups

He scored a stunning goal for Rotherham United on his professional senior debut during a brief loan spell earlier in the campaign, before returning to City where he’s caught the eye for the EDS in recent weeks.

The winger’s performance against Liverpool u21s at Anfield was undoubtedly one of City’s standout individual showings in the U21 Premier League so far this season.

Bersant Celina

Bersant’s name is an increasingly familiar one on teamsheets at first-team games in 2016.

The Kosovan international made his senior City debut in the third round win at Norwich City before featuring against at Aston Villa in the 4-0 win last month.

His Premier League debut soon followed, in the defeat to Leicester a fortnight ago, an occasion he marked with a brilliant assist for Sergio Aguero.

Celina is a versatile forward, capable of playing anywhere across the front three or in behind a no.9 - the 19-year old is quick and boasts excellent technical skills, as demonstrated by his growing portfolio of free-kicks.

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