Manchester City starlet James McAtee is on a fast track for future success after receiving his first England Under-21 call up… before his first start for Premier League champions City
- Manchester City’s James McAtee is in line for his first England U21 appearance
- The City starlet is still yet to make his first start for the Manchester giants
- ‘The Salford Silva’ will join up with the squad ahead of Tuesday’s Albania clash
- McAtee is rewarded having won the Premier League 2 Player of the season
James McAtee has been handed a first England Under 21 call-up before making his full Manchester City debut.
Dubbed the ‘Salford Silva’, the 19-year-old midfielder has made six appearances for City across four competitions – including the Champions League.
But he is waiting for a maiden start under Pep Guardiola and England want to fast track the teenager’s progress on the international stage.
Manchester City starlet James McAtee, 19, (left) already has a Premier League winners’ medal
The skilfully technical McAtee, named Premier League 2 player of the season after a free-scoring campaign, is linking up with Lee Carsley’s squad at Mottram Hall ahead of Tuesday’s European Championship qualifier against Albania.
The midfielder has six City appearances
‘We really rate him highly,’ Carsley said. ‘He’s going to struggle to get a lot of game-time at City. But we can potentially give him some minutes.
‘He can play anywhere: seven, 11, 10, nine, eight. He’s a good footballer. I was lucky to see him at City when I was there with the younger age groups. He’s one we’ve kept an eye constantly.’
England are handling McAtee in a similar way to Phil Foden, who was given opportunities to impress on the international stage despite not being afforded regular matches with his club.
Carsley has called on McAtee to train with the U21 group already but is now ready to give him a debut in any of the three qualifiers coming up over the next week.
Despite not starting yet for City McAtee England have fast tracked his development
England need three points to secure progression to next summer’s tournament and were helped by the return of Emile Smith Rowe, who scored a stunning opener during Friday’s 2-1 win in the Czech Republic.
Smith Rowe dropped back down from the seniors but has embraced the camp. ‘We’re all pushing to get into the first-team, helping each other,’ he said. ‘It’s been a quite difficult end to the season back at Arsenal so it’s important for me to come here and give my all.
‘It’s been easy to come back. It’s important to stay level-headed. You’ve got to stay humble and don’t get too upset if you don’t go to the first team. You’ve got to perform [here] to get into the first team.’