Rising star: Manchester City youngster Greg Leigh on life, football and the pursuit of first team games

By Tim Hyde

As a pacey modern full-back, Manchester City’s hot prospect Greg Leigh is not only adept at halting opposition wingers but can also trouble the opposing right-back by bombing down the line.

Leigh is part of Manchester City’s illustrious youth academy that has produced international calibre players like Micah Richards and Daniel Sturridge.

The 18-year-old enjoyed an excellent 2012/13 season playing for City’s Elite Development Squad and received a nomination for the Academy Player of the Year title as well as earning his first England u19s cap.

In an interview with MM Greg spoke of his joy at receiving the call to represent his country.

“It was such an honour to get my England call up at the end of last season, I think I am continuing to improve and hopefully I can represent the under 21’s at some point,” Greg said.

As well as working under the tutelage of World Cup winner Patrick Viera Leigh has had the opportunity to play for the reserve team alongside Micah Richards and Brazillian international Maicon.

“When you’re playing with such quality players, it can only improve your game,” the youngster said.

“Having International standard team-mates is really helpful, as you pick up on all the little details of their game which make them so good.”

Greg comes from Sale, Greater Manchester, and was signed by City from Sale United in 2004.

While defending is Leigh’s bread and butter he has the capability to find the back of the net for his team in open play and poses an aerial threat from set-pieces.

He showed his goalscoring touch in 2011/12 when he contributed four goals to the team.

At the end of last season the full back was awarded a two year professional contract and hopes that, if he keeps improving, he can force his way into first team contention.

“In the Premier League the margins are so small that little changes to your game can make a huge difference when it really counts,” he said.

Having just come back from a pre-season tour of Croatia the young blue was immediately sent as an over aged player to the prestigious invitation only Oberndorf tournament in Germany.

Manchester City’s young guns had a mixed tournament finishing sixth.

England hotshot Greg said: “It’s the start of a new season and we were slow to start.

“It was disappointing not to challenge for the cup, but we learnt a lot about ourselves from the tournament.”

However, Viera was pleased to see a noticeable difference in the team as the tournament progressed.

Leigh is hoping to play more reserve team football this season after only playing a handful of games for them last season.

“If I keep improving I hope to make more appearances for the reserves, but City have two internationals at left back.

“When you spend time with quality players, their good habits rub off on you and I hope to keep improving.”

With a new manager entering the Etihad this summer Leigh hopes Pellegrini will look to academy graduates more than his predecessor Mancini.

Image courtsy of MCFC via video, with thanks

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