City have a number of young players currently earning some valuable first-team experience on loan including Zach Steffan and Morgan Rodgers. However, many fans have been keeping a particularly close eye on both Tommy Doyle and James McAtee, who have helped guide Sheffield United back to the Premier League this season.
With City competing across multiple competitions this year, Pep has been forced to call upon one or two younger players in the FA Cup and also during lower-priority Premier League fixtures. This campaign we’ve seen the likes of Rico Lewis clock up over 500 minutes as well as Cole Palmer and Maximo Perrone make fleeting appearances. Despite this, minutes for non-established first-teamers has been limited overall and both Doyle and McAtee may require another season or two in order to earn themselves adequate experience In order to prepare themselves for the rigours of the top flight.
At the time of writing, City’s talented squad has managed to cope with the hectic schedule and the backlog of fixtures which comes as a result of being successful in multiple competitions. Thankfully, they have suffered very few injuries this year, however, on the rare occasions that Erling Haaland or Kevin de Bruyne have been forced to miss matches, there have been a number of able deputies waiting in the wings.
Success now appears likely in the Premier League and bookmakers around the world including Sports Interaction, who have created the best betting app in Canada, are confident that Pep can finally guide this team to Champions League glory this season. As a result of this year’s success, the club are likely to strengthen once again in the summer and that could further reduce the opportunities for the likes of Doyle and McAtee to become a semi-regular squad member, outside of the occasional League Cup appearance.
The midfielder responded to questions about a potential return to Sheffield United with “If I come back, I’ll be buzzing”. The 22-year old has enjoyed his loan spell at Bramall Lane and it may suit both parties for him to return to South Yorkshire this summer. Having impressed in the second tier, City will be keen to see how their talented youngster copes with the step up next year.
However, speculation has also arisen about the possibility of a permanent move to the Blades with City likely to insert a buyback clause into the deal.
He scored three times and was responsible for the club’s goal of the season, which helped propel them into the FA Cup semi-final where they were subsequently ousted his parent club. He also claimed four assists throughout the campaign and added some much-needed energy to the centre of the park. His attacking instincts were vital to Sheffield United’s success this season with only three players having fired in more efforts on goal.
Although his early-season appearances were largely restricted to cameos from the bench, James McAtee has forced his way into Paul Heckingbottom’s plans during the second half of the campaign. McAtee featured in 35 matches, making 19 starts and ended up playing 13 more minutes than his fellow loanee.
McAtee finished as the club’s third top goal-scorer, netting on eight occasions and scored some vitally important goals including the winner against Bristol City, which confirmed the club’s promotion to the second tier. He also claimed three assists, helped to guide the club to the final four of the FA Cup and won Sheffield United’s Young Player of the Year.
His performances have attracted the admiring glances of an array of Premier League sides, many of whom have been linked with a potential loan move for the striker next season.
Pep has spoken about his desire to retain the services of McAtee, however, he would be open to sending him out on loan for the second successive season.
Both players are undeniably talented and there is understandably plenty of excitement surrounding their futures at the Etihad. However, they will need time to adapt to the top flight and will need at least another season to continue their development in the right environment.