Why Man City should offer Taylor Harwood-Bellis a new deal
The 17-year-old, who recently made his senior professional bow for the Cityzens in a 3-0 EFL Cup third-round victory over Preston North End last month, is held in high regard as a player with serious potential by the youth coaching staff at the Etihad.
Harwood-Bellis put in a solid shift at the heart of the defence alongside fellow academy graduate Eric Garcia, who had been handed his first-team debut by Pep Guardiola in the same competition last year.
Man City have high hopes of teenage centre-backs Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Eric Garcia and they have already been tipped to establish themselves as first-team mainstays moving forward in the future.
The England U-19 international is understandably one of the lowest earners in the squad at the moment but a new deal is likely to take his earnings up to around £10,000-a-week, figures which speak volumes of the kind of progress that he has made over the past twelve months. (h/t Metro)
Keeping in mind the ongoing crisis at the back, Harwood-Bellis might have sensed a big opportunity in front of him to break into Pep Guardiola’s plans in the Premier League this season but the manager has so far been unwilling to throw the teenager into the line of fire.
With John Stones and Aymeric Laporte both nursing injuries, City’s backline is currently in tatters but Guardiola’s stance clearly indicates that he wants to ease Harwood-Bellis and Garcia into the first-team fold rather than hurrying their development and putting them amongst the big boys all of a sudden.
An exponent of the Stockport Metro Junior League that also produced teammate Phil Foden, Harwood-Bellis joined Man CIty’s youth setup back in 2008 and has caught the eye with his rapid development through various age groups.
The 17-year-old excelled for the U-18s in the U-18 Premier League last season while also making the transition to the U-23 side in the Premier League 2 Division 1. The talented young centre-back has been a regular in the Elite Development squad this term.
Standing at 6ft 2in with a towering frame, Taylor Harwood-Bellis is already a giant in the making and has earned rave reviews for his technical abilities and maturity as a centre-back.
Additionally, the teenage starlet trained with the first-team in the pre-season prior to the start of the ongoing campaign and impressed with his performances in the Premier League Asia Trophy.
To put things into perspective, Man City should make it a priority to secure the long-term future of one of their highly-rated academy prospects, as Taylor Harwood-Bellis clearly has a big future ahead of him. The 17-year-old is a real talent and has already illustrated a level of maturity that belies his tender years.
The Cityzens have put a lot of emphasis on youth development in recent years and offering the 17-year-old fresh terms would definitely be a strong statement of intent, whilst also ensuring that they are in a strong position to shield him from foreign interest.
While the rise of Phil Foden from the youth ranks to the first-team has certainly been a big achievement by the club’s academy, City have let other top prospects like Brahim Diaz, Rabbi Matondo and Jadon Sancho slip out of their hands.
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To that end, a new contract for Harwood-Bellis would undoubtedly be a step in the right direction as far as their long-term plans are concerned and the fans, of course, will love to see another academy graduate following in the footsteps of Foden in the years to come.
Suffice to say, Man City should move quickly to tie the teenager down to fresh and improved terms in a bid to avoid any speculation over the future.