Bristol City ace likens young Australian midfielder to January signing Anis Mehmeti
Bristol City’s academy has brought through several top talents of late, and another may be on the way
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The tricky midfielder recently earned a call-up to Australia’s national squad for their upcoming international double-header against Ecuador, following several key performances for the young Robins.
Due to City’s injury troubles in the middle of the park, with Kal Naismith, Joe Williams and Matty James all injured, Francois and several other Under-21 players have trained with the first team.
When Pring was quizzed on which youngsters have caught his eye, he replied: “I’ve been impressed with a lot of them, to be honest. Marlee Francois is a really good player and I’m sure he’ll go a long way.”
City’s youth set-up has brought through several top youngsters in recent times, most notably Alex Scott, Tommy Conway and Sam Bell, and Francois could be another destined for senior action sooner rather than later.
Pring continued: “He’s just really good on the ball, he’s the same sort of player as Anis, likes to take players on, gets the ball to his feet. He's got such quick feet that he can go either way, you don’t really know which way he’s going. He can be a problem.”
Omar Taylor-Clarke is another top prospect at BS3, and the City number 16 insisted that the club is blossoming with young talent. “Obviously Omar’s been with us quite a while now, he's really good on the ball. Every player that steps up from the 21’s, you know there going to be a good player,” he said.
While the pathway from the academy through to the senior side is accessible and successful now, that hasn’t always been the case at City.
Pring himself was shipped out on loan several times when he was coming through at City, the left-back has spells at the likes of Hereford, Cheltenham Town and Portsmouth, and spent time at eight different clubs between 2017 and 2021.
The ex-Guernsey man has revived his career at City over recent times but admitted how he envied the current youth players and their experience at the club.
“I'd love to have been in the same position they are when I was their age, I was on loan a lot and training with the first team every day is a really good experience and you learn a lot quicker. Looking back I wish I was where they are at their age.”