Aston Villa and Sunderland-linked Jay Chapman buoyed by facing Manchester City

Samir Nasri & Sergio Aguero with Premier League Trophy

The Toronto FC midfielder, who has been linked with a Premier League switch this season, took on Manuel Pellegrini's men in last night's 1-0 defeat at BMO Field.

Toronto FC’s Jay Chapman got a brief taste of what Premier League life is like on Wednesday night, as his side took on Manchester City in a friendly clash at BMO Field.

The Canadian midfielder, 21, went the full 90 minutes against Manuel Pellegrini’s side and, even though the visitors stole a 1-0 win through George Evans’ 85th-minute wonder strike, the chance to line up against the likes of David Silva and Sergio Aguero was an experience which left him walking on air.

Speaking to after the match, the former under-17 international said: “Oh, it was fantastic. It was surreal. Playing against guys of that caliber, it was a huge learning curve for me. Just being out there 90 minutes, I didn’t expect that. I expected to play but I’m really happy and thankful I was able to play 90 minutes against those guys. I learned more in a game like that, you know, than maybe a couple years of my life!

“David Silva was fantastic,” he added. “Best player I’ve played against by a long shot. Honestly it was just good to be on the pitch with those guys. And, sometimes, my head was spinning a little bit watching them dance around but it was all good fun. It was a great experience.”

For Chapman, the match was also a glimpse of what could have been had he opted against signing for hometown club Toronto ahead of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft this winter.

Considered one of the brightest collegiate talents in the States at the time, the Michigan State product, who has a British father, drew serious interest from Aston Villa, Sunderland and Swansea [h/t Daily Mail] but explained to Inside Soccer Magazine that the chance to start out his career in front of his home fans was too good to turn down.

“I met with [general manager] Tim Bezbatchenko and [head coach] Greg Vanney, had a really good phone call with him, and he explained to me the philosophy and the way that the team’s going and that’s very big for me,” said Chapman.

“I want to be on a successful team and I think Greg’s going to bring that. There were other options but once I had a good talk with the staff, coming back to Toronto and playing in front of the home fans is where I wanted to be.”

Chapman could still make the move to England down the road if he goes on to fulfil his lauded potential but the versatile midfielder has so far had a slow start to his TFC career, having failed to make his MLS debut 12 weeks into the season.

He has earned impressive reviews with the club’s reserve side in USL, however, which suggests that a first-team breakthrough might not be far off once injuries and international call-ups pile up this summer.

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