Just like many other facets of the game, youth academy is also a part where Manchester United have been seemingly left behind by Manchester City. Micah Hamilton’s debut goal against Crvena Zvezda cemented that fact once again.
The Cityzens have a brand new prodigy at their hands in the striker but who is Micah Hamilton, and what can be expected of him in the future?
Here are all the details:
Who is Micah Hamilton?
20-year-old Micah Hamilton is a City product through and through. He signed for the team at the age of just seven, progressing through the age groups quickly.
His rise has been so meteoric that he was promoted to the U21s group only at the start of this season. After just three months with that group, he already has his first senior goal, on his Champions League debut no less.
Micah Hamilton is shining on his debut for Manchester City 💫
The 20-year-old made space for himself before finishing brilliantly to put Pep Guardiola's side in front…. #UCL
— The Athletic | Football (@TheAthleticFC) December 13, 2023
Before scoring against Crvena Zvezda, Hamilton had made the squad for an EFL Cup tie against Newcastle United in September but didn’t come on.
Micah Hamilton playing style
Hamilton, like pretty much every other forward in the City academy developed under the watchful philosophy of Pep Guardiola, is a multi-positional threat with a varied skill set.
His preferred position is on the left of a front-three, from where he can cut inside and unleash a shot past the goalkeeper.
Besides the wing, he has turned out in the middle for City, operating as an attacking midfielder in the space behind the striker, or as a “Free 8” in a midfield three, where he shuttles out wide to make an impact (role known as Mezzala).
In the long term, his future looks to be on the wing, because his mixture of pace, trickery, balance, and agility is too good to be wasted in congested spaces in the middle. Even his debut goal had glimpses of what he can become.
Hamilton received the ball on the right edge of the box, where he created space for himself with a trick or two, and hammered past the goalkeeper guarding his near post. The thing that will please coaches the most about it is how he played the role of a traditional winger there.
His right-footedness doesn’t limit him to becoming just a “cut inside and shoot” player. Instead, he happily picked up a position on the opposite wing, where he ran to the byline and scored.
It is that kind of versatility that Pep Guardiola admires, and requires from his attackers and pretty much every player really. Within the first few minutes of his debut, it was clear why Hamilton was deemed ready to make a contribution to arguably the most well-oiled attack in world football.
That is the case now, which makes predicting his potential all the more tantalising.
Mical Hamilton potential
A right-footed forward who can play in every attacking position while retaining the on-ball quality to operate in tight space in the middle? At his best, Hamilton could look like a more explosive, right-footed version of Leroy Sane.
More explosive because there’s a certain “street-like” quality to Hamilton’s game, where he doesn’t shy away from attempting the audacious, but never at the cost of effectiveness. In a system where each player has a clearly defined role, that moment of unpredictability can be the key to breaking a defence down. Hamilton has that in spades.
He doesn’t need to look very far if he wants to handle the step up to the first team effectively. Phil Foden was gradually introduced to the team and now he’s one of England football’s premier prospects, if not a great player already.
That introduction showed Hamilton can replicate the path of Foden. City were once widely accepted as the “Noisy Neighbours” to Manchester United. The results turned, but United clung on to the ethos of their academy being their pride. While that is still the case, the quality that the likes of Hamilton are showing as soon as they come on shows that even that gap is shrinking.