Manchester Special: Barker makes his mark

Widely considered to be a rising star of English football, Manchester City EDS winger Brandon Barker is more determined than ever to force his way into Manuel Pellegrini’s first-team plans.

After making his Manchester City debut in a friendly victory over Hamburg in January, the 18-year-old starlet felt he hadn’t done himself justice during his first taste of senior action, and is desperate to prove exactly why he is regarded as one of the club’s most promising young talents.

“I really want some more minutes to show what I can do – I don’t feel like I showed what I can do against Hamburg, so hopefully this time I can,” Barker told

“It’s been really good, my first pre-season with the first-team and it’s been very, very tough.” 

Given another opportunity to impress in City’s first pre-season clash against Adelaide United, Barker had no cause for regrets this time around, opening his senior scoring account on 62 minutes to propel City to a comfortable 2-0 victory.

It was the youngster's goal which provided a glimpse into his immense potential. A winger with frightening pace and ability to beat defenders from wide areas or drifting inside, a trademark surging run from the left saw Barker cut inside his marker, before firing across Eugene Galekovic into the bottom corner.

The Drolysden-born teenager was a constant thorn in the side of Josep Gombau’s men, and his ascension into the first-team picture comes as no surprise when considering his stellar form for Manchester City’s respective youth set-ups.

A City Academy member since eight years of age, Barker enjoyed an explosive season as a first year scholar, winning the Academy Players’ Player of the Year award for a stellar 2013/14 campaign with 13 goals in 32 appearances for the club’s U18 squad.

Barker has continued to impress City coaches with his rapid development over the last two seasons after dazzling performances for the club’s Elite Development Squad, while establishing himself on the international stage as a regular for the England youth team.

With Saturday’s inaugural City Football Group clash against Melbourne City FC representing another chance for Barker to stake his claim for a first-team berth, the youngster is excited at the prospect of facing John van’t Schip’s men.

“It’s a great connection we have with Melbourne and Saturday will be a really special game as it’s the first time two of our clubs have played each other,” he said.

“It’ll be great to play against them – they’re a good team, we’ll watch them and we’ll see how they play which I’m sure is in a very similar style to us.”

Given his exciting ability and his status as a home-grown talent, Manchester City fans will be hoping that Barker is given a chance to shine on the big stage in the near future.