Which City youngsters are eligible and likely to feature vs. Steaua Bucharest tonight?

Last week’s comprehensive 5-0 thrashing of tonight’s opponents means that there is a real likelihood that we will see a few of the youngsters play tonight. Under the previous manager I’d have been far less confident of their inclusion, such was Pellegrini’s cautious and un-experimental nature. But now we have Pep Guardiola – a man famed for his readiness to work with younger players. He has a proven track record, developing the likes of Busquets, Pedro, Pique and of course Messi at Barcelona, whilst at Bayern he helped Kimmich, Coman and most notably – Jerome Boateng.

Switching the focus back to City, it begs the question of which youngsters are eligible (for the Champions League) and are likely to feature against Bucharest tonight? The Daily Mail last night reported that up to five youngsters could feature later this evening, citing the likes of Aleix Garcia, Tosin Adarabioyo, Angelino, Pablo Maffeo and Angus Gunn as those with the best chance. One thing that does need clearing up though, is Aleix Garcia. The deep-lying playmaker only joined the club in August 2015 so cannot be listed on UEFA’s List B (defined as players born 1995 or later that have been registered with the club for a minimum of 2 years) and thus will not feature tonight. There is also no limit to the number of players that can be included on List B.

City's submitted squad list for the Champions League qualifying round (including List B players).

City’s submitted squad list for the Champions League qualifying round (including List B players).

However, the other four players listed above though are eligible for tonight’s fixture and should all make the bench. maybe with the exception of Angus Gunn. Bersant Celina is another name you could thrown into the ring too, though. Celina has been pictured training with the first team in the run-up to the Bucharest game and could be a part of Guardiola’s plans after his loan move to FC Twente fell through.

Prediction for Steaua Bucharest:

Adarabioyo and Maffeo will both start, Angelino to make the bench.

On Maffeo, Sagna’s injury coupled with Pep’s decision to name him as a substitute vs. Stoke means that he has a pretty good chance of making his first competitive appearance for City. As for Tosin, Guardiola is evidently a big fan of the 18 year-old central defender, giving him the full 90 minutes against both Bayern and Dortmund in pre-season. The impending departure (on loan) of Jason Denayer and the injury to Kompany gives the Mancunian an excellent chance of starting tonight. I’d love to see both Spanish full-backs from the start, but given the relative lack of minutes  that Clichy has had thus far I envisage that Angelino will only be good enough for the bench.

Overview of CL / PL eligibility of City’s young players:

As I’ve already explained, in order to be eligible for UEFA’s List B – players born 1995 or later must have been registered with City for a minimum of 2 years. Kelechi Iheanacho is not yet eligible for List B (hence his inclusion on the main squad list) as he was registered with the club in January 2015. From January 2017 though – the Champions League knockout stages, he can be included on City’s List B, opening-up a space on the main list for our January arrival Gabriel Jesus.

The Premier League has slightly different rules to the Champions League. The PL squad list has 8 slots for ‘home grown’ players – which are classified as players that have been registered with an English team for at least three years before their 21st birthday.

Youth players - UEFA B List / Home Grown

Angus GunnGK20July 2011YesYes
Tosin AdarabioyoCB18July 2002 (!)YesYes
Angelino LB19January 2013YesYes
Pablo MaffeoRB19July 2013YesYes
Aleix GarciaCM19 August 2015NoNo
Bersant CelinaAM19July 2012YesYes
Kelechi IheanachoST19 January 2015No (But in Jan 2017 - Yes)No
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