MANCHESTER City academy starlet George Swan is aiming to catch the eye of first team boss Roberto Mancini tonight, Thursday, when the Blues take on Fenerbahce in the NextGen Series.
The Normanton youngster, who turned 18 yesterday, has been named in the squad that will take on the Turkish giants in Hyde tonight in the prestigious annual tournament contested by academy teams from 24 of the world’s top clubs.
The former Leeds United academy defender was blighted by injuries last year but he has made a big impression in Manchester over the summer, producing consistent performances that have been rewarded with the U18s captain’s armband and promotion to City’s Elite Development Squad.
Swan said: “Things are going really well at the moment but I am not getting carried away and I just want to keep on improving.
“Getting the captaincy is something I wanted but didn’t expect. To be the skipper of any squad at a club like Manchester City is a great honour.
“I have found it quite easy to take on the captain’s role and despite a lot of new players coming into the club over the summer, the U18s are really starting to gel now.”
He added: “Moving up to the Elite Development Squad is fantastic. I am playing alongside top quality players and we are often joined by first team lads in training.”
Swan’s U18s troops suffered a 6-1 defeat to Chelsea in their opening FA Premier Academy League outing but bounced back with two wins on the spin.
A 1-0 success against Middlesbrough was quickly followed by a 2-0 victory over Liverpool, in which Swan capped a terrific individual performance with the second goal.
But it is European action that now beckons for Swan who was an unused substitute in City’s 2-0 home defeat to Paris St Germain in the opening game of the NextGen Series last month.
And with Mancini in the stands for each of City’s NextGen games, Swan is hoping to get onto the pitch for tonight’s clash with Fenerbahce and make an impression on the Italian.
Swan said: “I don’t know much about the Fenerbahce team but I am sure they will be strong.
“The European games are always tough but this is the latest challenge for me and I want to test myself against the best.”
Tonight’s match, a trip to Juventus in October and the away games in Turkey and Paris will prove crucial in deciding if City will progress from NextGen Series Group 2.
The likes of Ajax, Arsenal, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Celtic and Borussia Dortmund could then await City in the knock-out stages.
Read Friday’s Wakefield Express for more of the latest sports news.