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17th Oct 2021

Cole Palmer plays for Man City against Burnley, then bags hat-trick for U23s

Simon Lloyd

An eventful day for the City youngster

Breaking into the Manchester City first team these days can be a tricky business.

With a Premier League-winning squad that’s deep and brimming with world-class talent, chances are inevitably going to be limited for any of the club’s academy players – no matter how talented they are.

Realistically, opportunities will be restricted to the Carabao Cup and, with a bit of luck, the odd cameo in a league or dead-rubber Champions League group game. Striking the right balance between giving a young player crucial first team experiences and still allowing them to play enough minutes for them to continue their development can be complicated.

Fortunately, Pep Guardiola was able to do both with highly-rated youngster Cole Palmer on Saturday. With his side 2-0 and cruising towards victory over Burnley at the Etihad on Saturday afternoon, the 19-year-old came on as a late substitute for Bernardo Silva.

His day’s work wasn’t done there, either. After full-time, he made his way across to the City’s Academy Stadium, where he was named a starter for the club’s Elite Development Squad’s Premier League 2 game with Leicester City, which kicked off at 7:30. He ended it with three goals to his name as City won 5-0.

Palmer would have hardly been exhausted by his fleeting appearance for the first team earlier in the day, but the fact he was able to get another senior appearance under his belt and end up bagging a hat-trick for the EDS squad a matter of hours later marked an unusual day.

City’s first team’s win over Burnley saw them moved on to 17 points – two behind league leaders Chelsea and one off Liverpool, who sealed an emphatic victory over Watford in the day’s early kick-off.

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