Angelino returns to Manchester City having shown his promise in MLS

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The 18-year-old left-back-cum-winger made 14 appearances for sister club New York City FC during his four-month loan spell.

Manchester City youngster Angelino has headed back to England after his loan spell at sister club New York City FC, and having shown plenty of flashes of potential during his time in MLS, the future certainly looks bright.

Originally joining NYCFC in July for the remainder of their inaugural campaign, the 18-year-old Spaniard made 10 starts in 14 appearances either at left-back or in midfield for the expansion side, while adding four assists thanks to his impressive distribution in the final third.

The season ultimately ended in disappointment for the club as they finished 12 points outside the playoffs in ninth-place in the Eastern Conference, but having offered a much-needed spark on the flank with his pace, crossing and dribbling skills, the former Under-17 international was an obvious bright spot.

Despite establishing himself as fan favourite, the teenage defender’s playing time decreased somewhat during the final weeks of the campaign – likely due to the inexperience that saw him concede two penalties in the space of a fortnight in September, but head coach Jason Kreis was still impressed enough with his performances to declare his intent to bring him back to Yankee Stadium for a second loan spell next season.

Speaking last month about Angelino and fellow City loanee Shay Facey, who spent the entire season in New York, the 2009 MLS Cup-winning boss told “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.”

Nevertheless, while another stint at NYCFC would do Angelino no harm whatsoever, City could well have bigger plans for him.

The speedy full-back has established himself as one of the club’s top prospects since signing from Deportivo La Coruna in 2013 over both Real Madrid and Barcelona, and having starred for Patrick Vieira’s Elite Development Squad last season, plenty expect him to make the step up to the first-team before long.

Vieira has even labelled him the best youngster he has worked with during his time at the club, telling NYCFC’s official website in July: “I’ve been working the youth development with City for the last two years. Angelino was the best player I had. The person, the football, the respect, the completion of the boy, of the player…I’m in love with him.

“He is a good player that I really enjoyed coaching because he will be the first in training, he will be the last to leave, he will do extra even if you don’t ask him. He loves football and for a manager, it’s fantastic. He loves playing football and he’s talented.”

 2015 MLS PositionTeamAssistsKey PassesPassing AccuracyTotal CrossesCrossing AccuracyTotal TacklesTackle AccuracyInterceptionsAppearancesMins Played
Angelino DF-MF NYCFC 4 16 76.4% 28 25% 29 81.5% 22 14 992

Vieira’s comments certainly suggest that he has Angelino pegged as a potential first-team star, but what the more immediate future holds for him remains to be seen.

Aleksandar Kolarov and Gael Clichy have both had their form and fitness issues at times but the pair are still solid Premier League options, and that mind, there is clearly no need to throw the youngster in at the deep end right now given that he remains somewhat raw as a prospect.

There is certainly no questioning his attacking skills at his point but his NYCFC spell showed that he still has a lot to learn defensively, and another loan stint to a more competitive league for the second half of this season would seem like the wisest move to get him better prepared for the English top-flight.

Whatever unfolds in the short-term, though, City fans should definitely be excited about Angelino’s potential, and while he may only have 14 senior appearances under his belt, there is every reason to believe that he could go on to develop into their own left-sided version of Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin.

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