England Under-21s coach Lee Carsley talked up James McAtee’s ability to play in five different positions after calling the Manchester City starlet up to his squad. Carsley, who spent a year at the City Football Academy as Under-18s coach, has already turned to City for Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Tommy Doyle and Cole Palmer during his time with England.

McAtee, 19, is the latest to be given a look with England Under-21s after an impressive year that included winning the Premier League 2 Player of the Year award, making his first-team debut under Pep Guardiola and signing a new long-term contract at the club. He played six times for the first team but is yet to start for them.

Carsley will have the opportunity to test the player out in England Under-21 games against Albania, Kosovo, and Slovenia over the next fortnight. McAtee was already on the former City coach’s radar, and his progress and development has seen him earn a bump up with England.

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“We really rate him highly,” Carsley said. “He can play anywhere: seven, eleven, ten, nine, eight. He’s a good footballer. I was lucky to see him at City when I was there with the younger age groups. He’s one we’ve kept an eye constantly.”

Brighton were interested in a permanent deal for McAtee in the January transfer window, despite him having played fewer than a handful of games for City at the time. While the Blues see his long-term future at the Etihad, there will be no shortage of interest in him from other clubs this summer pushing for a loan or transfer to tempt the attacking midfielder away.

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