Manchester City teen promoted to first-team as Pep Guardiola battles injury crisis

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has confirmed young centre-back Taylor Harwood-Bellis has been promoted to his first-team squad, following injuries to both Aymeric Laporte and John Stones, according to The Manchester Evening News.

The 17-year-old was part of the Sky Blues’ squad for the pre-season tour of Asia in the summer, featuring three times, including the full 90 minutes in a 4-1 win against West Ham in China.

Harwood-Bellis, who is described as a ‘dominating defender’, by Manchester City’s official website, has been training with the first-team ever since the start of the new campaign.

The Stockport-born defender, was a key player for the Under-18s, helping them to win the Premier League Cup, as well as netting multiple goals in City’s road to the FA Youth Cup final. He most recently netted against Liverpool Under-23s, before stepping up to first-team duties.

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“From now on, he will train with us,” Guardiola told The Manchester Evening News. “Whether he will play or not, we’ll see.

“The guys from the academy spoke really well about him before pre-season.

“I saw in pre-season. He is aggressive, he wins duels, he pays attention.”

Harwood-Bellis’ promotion means Guardiola has another impressive centre-back to call upon. Spaniard Eric Garcia, 18, recently made his debut in the 8-0 victory over Watford at the Etihad on Saturday.

Laporte suffered a serious knee injury in the victory over Brighton last month and Stones is sidelined due to a thigh problem and is expected to be out until mid-October, as reported by the Manchester Evening News.

Fernandinho partnered Nicolas Otamendi at the back in the victory over the Hornets, but it remains to be seen whether Guardiola will opt to change things around, as he targets a third Premier League title this campaign.

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