Manchester City have got an embarrassment of riches when it comes to young talent as their 6-1 win against Wycombe Wanderers last month proved, with Pep Guardiola giving six teenagers their senior debuts in the EFL Cup clash.
There is plenty of City academy talent showcasing their quality away from the Etihad this season as well, with four players currently on loan in the EFL.
Here we look at how all four have fared in the opening few months of the 2021/22 campaign…
Lewis Fiorini – Lincoln City
Lincoln proved a fantastic place for young loanees last season, with the likes of Morgan Rogers and Brennan Johnson turning heads as the Imps reached the League One play-off final, and Michael Appleton has once again been trusted with a host of impressive up-and-coming talent this term.
Among those is Scottish midfielder Lewis Fiorini, who starred for NAC Breda in the Dutch second tier last term and has become a regular fixture in Appleton’s side already.
The 19-year-old started out as a substitute but has become a mainstay in the starting XI in recent weeks and started to show his quality in the final third – scoring three and adding one assist in his 12 appearances.
It’s been a difficult start to the season for the Imps but it seems Fiorini is a player that Appleton feels can help them turn things around.
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Callum Doyle – Sunderland
There were questions asked of Lee Johnson’s transfer strategy in the summer as he appeared to be putting a lot of faith in young arrivals such as Callum Doyle.
The 18-year-old has proven a masterstroke of signing so far, however, helping Sunderland sit second in the League One table after 10 games.
Doyle became an instant starter for the Black Cats and only lost his place recently due to injury, though he returned in the recent loss to Portsmouth.
According to Whoscored, the central defender ranks among the top five players in Johnson’s squad in terms of average aerial duels won (2.1), interceptions (1.9), clearances (3.4), and blocks (0.7) per game, while he averages more passes per game than any other Black Cats player.
It’s been a hugely impressive start to life in senior football for Doyle, who looks set to be a key player in Sunderland’s promotion push this term.
Gavin Bazunu – Portsmouth
The fact that Gavin Bazunu already has seven Republic of Ireland caps at the age of just 19 tells you just how highly rated the young goalkeeper is and Portsmouth fans have certainly had a taste of that this season.
It’s hardly been an outstanding start to the 2021/22 campaign for Pompey but Bazunu has been ever-present between the sticks in League One – conceding just 10 goals and keeping four clean sheets.
The teenager has been one of the South Coast club’s standout performers and has made more saves than all but two of the other keepers in the third tier this term (Whoscored).
Danny Cowley will be aiming for promotion this term and Bazunu is likely to be a pivotal part of that.
Morgan Rogers – Bournemouth
After a breathtaking loan spell at Lincoln last season, which saw him score six times and add four assists after arriving in January, lots was expected when Morgan Rogers joined on loan with Bournemouth this summer.
There were a fair few Championship clubs in the chase for him but he joined the Cherries, in a move that’s yet to really pay dividends.
The winger has been little more than a bit-part player for his new club so far, with just one of his six appearances coming from the start, and is yet to add a goal or an assist.
Given the amount of attacking quality available to Scott Parker and the way the league leaders have started the season, Rogers can have no real complaints but he’ll no doubt be determined to make more of an impact as the season wears on.