Date:Thursday July 19 2007
Manchester City`s academy tree has grown its fair share of fruits since its incarnation in 1999. The likes of Shaun Wright Phillips and Joey Barton have both become England internationals and made the club around £30 million in the transfer market. Current first team stars Stephan Ireland, Micah Richards and Nedum Onuoha are picking up International caps left right and center. And last season they were joined by midfield maestro Michael Johnson in the City first team. But who`s next??
Tonight against Swedish second division side Ogryte, Shaleum Logan became the latest academy member to be given a run out in the City first team on the right of midfield, a position that the attacking fullback doesn`t often play these days. Manager Sven Goran Eriksson has praised Logan in the press this week, which is always a good sign for a young player, and the Swede rewarded the youngster with his first start in the City first team.
I`ve seen a fair bit of Logan over the last few years and his development towards the end of last season was tenfold. He went from promising youth to consistent reserve team performer, which is certain to get you noticed by the coaching staff. It`s a shame he broke his leg as it stunted his growth as a player a little. He reminds me of a young Ashley Cole and is 2 footed which is a valuable commodity in this day and age.
A breakthrough this season into a first team regular seems unlikely as Sven will bolster the squad with another 8 or 9 players before the window shuts and likely more in January, but if Logan can keep himself in the frame with travelling squads to away matches and get himself in and around the first team squad regularly, he may just survive here.
With the high quality of players likely to arrive under Sven, it`s up to the academy lads to step up.
Against Ogryte, Logan looked as much a member of the first team as anyone else out there and more so then plenty who have been considered regulars in the past. He was played out of position and still made an impact. That shows the desire of the kid.
What he has in his locker that will help him is the ability to adapt. He can play in both full back positions at a high level and can also operate in both wide midfield positions well. Managers like players of this ilk. It`s how Micah got himself in the side at an early age. Adaptability. The same may ring true for Logan. Time will tell but he's a talent worth developing.
Young players often get their chances due to injury to first team regulars. Should Ball or Micah pick up injuries, Logan may well have his moment. That`s when we will see what he's made of.
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