Why James McAtee is the future Bernardo Silva replacement

The rising star of Manchester City’s James McAtee is demonstrating his ability to excel at the highest level. Currently on loan with Premier League side Sheffield United for the second time, McAtee is building on the success of his previous loan spell with the club last season.

Having joined Sheffield United on the summer transfer deadline day, the young midfielder has proven that he possesses the qualities required for Premier League football. With 17 appearances for the Blades, McAtee’s technical prowess stands out in a team fiercely battling for survival in the Premier League. Throughout all competitions this season, the Manchester City prodigy has contributed three goals and three assists, leaving a notable impact on the ongoing campaign.

McAtee’s talent has always been undisputed. However, what truly shines during his time with the Blades is his remarkable maturity and physicality for his nimble size, essential attributes for thriving at the highest level. Demonstrating a capacity to compete effectively in the Premier League, McAtee has unequivocally proven that he possesses the necessary qualities to succeed in the demanding environment of top-tier football.

Shaping into a Manchester City calibre player

In United’s recent 4-0 FA Cup triumph over Gillingham, the ‘Salford Silva’ shined once more with an assist and two outstanding strikes into either corner of the goal.

In what has been a miserable campaign for all involved at Sheffield United, the 21-year-old has been one of few players that have been a joy to watch at times. And since Chris Wilder has returned he has stepped up even more.

McAtee’s diverse range of goals not only highlights his proficiency in finishing clear-cut opportunities in the box but also showcases his capability to score extraordinary strikes from long-range efforts following dynamic surges up the field. He proves to be avoiding the trap of being a player who showboats merely for showmanship’s sake.

Although he can be described as too much of a one-footed player at times, that does not stop him from going down the outside of people when dribbling tight to the touchline in a wide right position.

However in situations like above, you just feel that if he goes on his right foot he’d be able to get a cross/shot off which could produce a goal. And to be honest, you could say that’s the only part of his game which can be improved, but that will come with experience.

James McAtee: the future replacement for Bernardo Silva?

For me James McAtee resembles Bernardo Silva in the way he strides with the ball and how he operates in certain areas of the pitch. When you compare his numbers to the Portuguese international’s, there is a resemblance with the figures, when you factor in McAtee is in a poor team.

Looking at the shot-creating actions per 90, McAtee has registered 2.78 versus Silva’s 4.51, which in the grand scheme of things is quite similar. Carries into the final third are also close too, the City loanee has 1.79 per 90 versus 2.5 for Silva. To add, the 21-year-old has actually attempted far more take-ons than Silva, 4.8 per 90 for McAtee over 1.8 for the City man.

Defensively they’re quite similar too. Pep Guardiola’s teams are known for being effective at pressing and reducing space for opponents to play out from the back. Well, what if I told you McAtee actually has had more successful tackles in the final third than what Bernardo Silva has made? Additionally, McAtee’s successful tackling percentage currently sits at 55% versus 48% for Silva.

All stats taken from FBref.
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