Shay Facey heads back to Manchester City, but will he return to New York City FC?

Statue Of Liberty

The 20-year-old defender made 23 MLS appearances for City's stateside sister club during his season-long loan spell.

New York City FC head coach Jason Kreis has already declared his intent to bring Manchester City loanee Shay Facey back to the club for next season, but whether he gets his wish remains to be seen.

The 20-year-old defender’s loan spell at City’s MLS-based sister club has now finished after they missed the playoffs in their inaugural campaign, and the farewell message he posted on Twitter on Tuesday pours a great deal of doubt over the prospects of a second stint.

It would certainly be a shame not to see Facey back at NYCFC in 2016, having been one of the club’s few bright spots during a largely disappointing first season in MLS, which saw them finish eighth in the Eastern Conference – 12 points outside the playoffs.

The City youngster originally joined the expansion side on a four-month loan deal in March after impressing during a pre-season trial, although his start to life in New York proved far from straightforward.

As well as missing several games through injury, the former England Under-20 international was sent off in his first professional start in a 0-0 draw at the Colorado Rapids, before having to briefly return to Manchester in April to deal with a family bereavement.

However, the Blues loanee would prove a revelation after moving from right-back to centre-half in June, and after seeing his spell extended until the end of the campaign, managed to establish himself as one of the club’s most reliable performers over the following months.

Helping stabilise one of the league’s worst defences, he finished the regular season on Sunday having played the eighth most minutes on the entire team, while also putting up some impressive statistics in the process.

In 20 starts and three substitute appearances, the City academy product recorded the second most interceptions and the second most clearances per game among NYCFC players, as he quickly endeared himself to supporters with his committed displays.

There were some shaky moments, such as the 3-1 final day defeat to the New England Revolution, when he was taken off at half-time after struggling to contain the in-form Charlie Davies, but the overall promise he showed in New York certainly served as an encouraging sign for the future.

 2015 MLS PositionTeamTotal TacklesTackle AccuracyTotal ClearancesHeaders WonHeader SuccessInterceptionsFoulsPassing AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Shay Facey DF NYCFC 59 80% 112 22 51% 87 28 84.4% 23 1818

Nevertheless, while now returning to parent club City for the time being, where Facey fits in the Premier League club’s long-term plans is certainly far from clear.

The former Elite Development Squad skipper’s contract runs out next summer, and though he clearly possesses a great deal of potential, he still has a long way to go to prove that he can make the grade in the English top-flight.

With Vincent Kompany, Nicholas Otamendi, Eliquiam Mangala and Martin Demichelis at Manuel Pellegrini’s disposal, there will not be many opportunities for first-team football at the Etihad Stadium, and while another loan to the Champions or League One could help put him in the shop window, he will always have some prejudice to overcome as a 5ft 9in centre-back.

Ideally, NYCFC would love to acquire his services on a permanent basis, and while coach Kreis is currently facing questions over his future at the club after missing the playoffs, he has been fairly vocal of late about wanting him back for 2016.

Discussing the futures of both Facey and fellow City loanee Angelino, who is widely regarded as one of the Citizens’ top prospects, the 2009 MLS Cup-winning boss told EmpireofSoccer.com last month: “I would like them to stay. There’s no doubt that from our point of view, from New York City’s point of view, we would like them to stay, no doubt.

“I think they’re both fantastic people and they’re obviously both very, very talented players with a very high level of potential. At the end of the day, when I took this job, one of my goals is to be a part of the development of some special players.”

Regardless of who is managing NYCFC next season, the initial suggestions are that Angelino will likely not be returning to Yankee Stadium, while the club will now have to wait and see how things unfold with Facey.

His tweets certainly seem to hint that he has played his last game in MLS, but if City Football Group want their US-based side to be a success going forward, they would be wise to ensure that one of its mainstay defenders from 2015 has not headed back across the Atlantic for good.

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