Sergio Busquets. Thiago Alcantara. Bojan Krkic. These are just some of the names who received their first league experience under the command of Pep Guardiola.
After their stunning five-goal victory in Bucharest, Manchester City go into Wednesday night’s game against Steaua at the Etihad knowing that little beyond an act of god will keep them out of the Champions League group stages.
Ever the developer of players, Guardiola is likely to field a number of young players from City’s much-vaunted youth development programme in the second leg on Wednesday. Sportsmail has put together a guide to some of the talent that could be on show.
Pep Guardiola could field a number of Manchester City youngsters against Steaua Bucharest
Aleix Garcia – 19 – defensive midfielder – signed from Villarreal
A defensive midfielder who was snapped up from Villarreal last summer. Garcia has already made his first-team debut for City, although it was a chastening experience. Manuel Pellegrini selected him for heavy FA Cup defeat against Chelsea in February 21. Garcia has had considerable senior experience, playing 10 times for Villarreal B in 2014-15. He is considered an intelligent passer of the ball, sitting in front of the defence and dictating play.
Aleix Garcia (left) is a deep-lying midfielder who is regarded as an intelligent passer
Tosin Adarabioyo – 18 – central defender – came through academy
A ball-playing central defender who was born and bred in Manchester. Adarabioyo comes with a considerable pedigree. He has represented England at every youth level between Under 16s and Under 19s. Impressed throughout City’s youth cup run last season, and is often highlighted as one of the most ‘first team ready’ players in City’s academy. Also played against Chelsea, and while City lost 5-1, Adarabioyo impressed up against Diego Costa.
Tosin Adarabioyo is regarded as one of the most first team ready players in the academy
Pablo Maffeo – 19 – right back – signed from Espanyol
Guardiola will have found a kindred spirit in the City dressing room in Maffeo. The 19-year-old was born in Sant Joan Despi in Catalonia, only 37 miles from Guardiola’s hometown of Santpedor. Unlike Guardiola, Maffeo came through the academy of Barcelona’s city rivals Espanyol before joining City in 2013. He was a regular unused substitute under Pellegrini last season, although from January onwards he was on loan with Girona, making 13 appearances in the Segunda Division.
Pablo Maffeo comes from Sant Joan Despi in Catalonia, only 37 miles from Guardiola’s home
Angelino – 19 – left back – signed from Deportivo La Coruna
The 19-year-old could be hopeful of carving out a niche for himself in the City first team. After all, he is a left back, which is very much a problem position for the Etihad club. Angelino is another Spanish import at City, who were building for Guardiola’s arrival well before he appeared on their doorstep wearing a Stone Island jumper. The Coristanco-born defender spent part of 2015 on loan with sister club New York City, making 14 appearances in MLS. He spoke of that loan spell giving him an opportunity to gain experience alongside Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard.
Angelino spent a spell on loan with New York City FC last year, playing 14 league games
Angus Gunn – 20 – goalkeeper – signed from Norwich City
Gunn is one of the less likely players to make an appearance for City on Wednesday night, but could be hopeful of taking advantage of the goalkeeping vacuum. The 20-year-old son of former Norwich keeper Bryan Gunn made an impression in pre-season, helping City to a penalty shoot-out victory against Borussia Dortmund by saving three spot kicks. Gunn is yet to make a competitive senior appearance for City. He has represented England Under 21s three times since making his debut in September 2015.
Angus Gunn saved three penalties during a pre-season tie against Borussia Dortmund
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