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Loan Watch: Manchester City’s next midfield prospect that’s lighting up League One



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Manchester City loanee Alex Robertson is quickly becoming one of the first names on Portsmouth’s team sheet, a key figure in a side that is only one of two left in the top four divisions not to lose a league game this season.

The City Football Academy have produced some great midfield players in recent history, with the likes of Phil Foden, Cole Palmer and James McAtee all becoming regulars in Premier League sides.

But further down the English pyramid, the academy’s next gem is proving his worth in a different shade of blue.

Alex Robertson arrived in Manchester at the age of 12, joining Manchester United’s academy system before transferring to the blue side at an Under-15 level.

The Dundee-born Australian international’s rise through the ranks saw him train regularly with the first-team, where he was mentored by City icon Fernandinho, who guided him to improve his defensive abilities alongside Pep Guardiola.

A short stint at Ross County followed, and he earned a senior Socceroos cap against Ecuador during his return to Manchester City’s Premier League 2 team during the 2022/23 campaign.

Instead of staying with the Elite Development Squad this season, Robertson was loaned out to a Portsmouth side looking to continue their rise back up the leagues following their financial troubles in 2010.

The 20-year-old has quickly enamoured himself with the fans at Fratton Park, earning himself a standing ovation following his full debut against Exeter City, and has kept his scintillating form running throughout the season.

Following that game, Pompey manager John Mousinho was full of praise for the City loanee, saying: “To be honest, to go as long as he did and to be as influential as he was in his first start.

“I think in this country, he’s got a real bright future, the kid and the real adjustment for him coming over from Premier League to League One is a huge, huge adjustment.

“And Man City, thankfully, prepare their lads really, really well. We saw the fruit of that tonight, and I’m really, really pleased for him.”

Robertson provides Portsmouth with a deeper attacking outlet, having created 18 chances from 14 games, more than his midfield partners in Marlon Pack and Joe Morrell.

The youngster’s defensive game has also been beneficial to the League One leaders, with Pompey conceding the least amount of goals as well as maintaining their unbeaten streak.

Robertson has been pivotal in Mousinho’s charge for promotion so far, already racking up two assists and offering a high level of consistency in each performance he makes.

The Australian international’s attacking outlet, as seen in his early days in the City academy, could offer a box-to-box option to the Catalan should he progress into the first-team in the future.

When it comes to youth player development, Manchester City are second to none, and once more they have wonderfully managed another emerging talent to the top of England’s third tier.

With Ilkay Gundogan and Cole Palmer leaving during the summer, first-team places are up for grabs between City’s academy midfielders.

Oscar Bobb has already been given chances by Guardiola, and Robertson’s stellar start to life on the south coast could put him in with a chance of an appearance upon his return to the Etihad Stadium in 2024.

Written by Lewis Gray.