Monday 10 March 2014
Ahead of this evening's Barclays Under-21 Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton, which takes place at Etihad Stadium at 7pm, we profile City's exciting winger Sinan Bytyqi, who has helped Patrick Vieira's side string together a remarkable 12-match winning streak that has lifted them into fourth and the final play-off place.
Born: 15 January 1995, Austria
Austria youth international Sinan Bytyqi has belied his modest years to play a starring role in Manchester City’s excellent 2013/14 season so far in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League.
His footballing hero is Neymar and it is easy to see why when you see the 19-year-old play, with his flicks and tricks bewitching many a full-back for club and country. Bytyqi has been an integral member of Patrick Vieira’s under-19 selection, who have reached the last eight of the inaugural UEFA Youth League competition, and the winger scored a sublime solo goal against Newcastle United to kickstart Man City’s comeback win in an exciting Under-21 Premier League Cup quarter-final. (click here to see)
"When my coach told me City had phoned and I was delighted; it was an easy decision"
I started playing football when I was 4. I started playing with my dad, rather than with a team for the first few years. Then I joined the club in my city and I started playing football in a proper team regularly. When I was 13 or 14, I joined Admira Wacker and from there I joined City.
I was playing for the Austrian national team in Denmark. We had to play in Denmark and Italy in our qualification group. I was on the bench but at 0-0 I went on to the pitch and we ended up winning 2-0. I made the assists for both goals and directly after the game, there was a call to the coach but he would not say which team was calling. Obviously, I was eager to learn more. We played two games and when I got home, he told me it was City and I was delighted; it was an easy decision!
The first month was difficult because the Manchester accent is quite difficult to understand. So it was quite difficult at first, but once you are used to it, it’s fine and I understand everything.
I learned to speak English at school but I was not as good then as I am now. When I'm at home, my family speaks Albanian and all of my friends in Austria speak German.
We started very well in our European Championship qualifying group - we tried to play differently every game. We have played eight games, have won seven and lost one, so we reached the next round. Now we're going to play in Russia in June. It was a really good qualification stage for me. I scored four goals in three games and made two assists.
I stayed later in training to improve my free-kicks and it's nice to see that the extra work is paying off and I've managed to score a few this season. I always try and get the ball up and down over the wall and find the corner of the net.
The above is an excerpt from an interview conducted by Manchester City. Fans wishing to watch Bytyqi's interview can do so on Manchester City's website by clicking here >>. Those supporters who would like to watch the Austrian whizzkid in action can do so tonight from the Colin Bell Stand Level 1.
Tickets are free for season-card holders, while non-season-card holders can purchase a ticket for £3 for adults and £1 concessions (under-16s and over-65s) in person only at the ticket office above the City Store at Etihad Stadium. From 5.30pm tickets can also be purchased from the Stadium Ticket Office located in BT City Square (behind the stage) until 7.15pm. Click here >> for further details. Car parking is also available free of charge to all supporters in Blue H, accessible from Alan Turing Way.
There are six other Barclays Under-21 Premier League matches taking place today, including Norwich City v Sunderland at Carrow Road. See below for Monday's fixture list.
Kick-offs 7pm unless stated
12pm, Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion, THFC training centre
Aston Villa v Leicester City, Pirelli Stadium
Everton v Stoke City, Southport FC
Manchester City v Southampton, Etihad Stadium
Norwich City v Sunderland, Carrow Road
Reading v Bolton Wanderers, Basingstoke Town
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester United, AFC Telford United