What next for Preston North End’s Man City loanee Lukas Nmecha?
Preston loanee Lukas Nmecha’s longer-term future will not be decided until the summer.
His return to North End’s starting XI of late has triggered talk that they could try to get him on loan from Manchester City again next season.
However, that is a decision for the end of the campign.
City rate 20-year-old Nmecha highly, this season the first time they have loaned him out.
They will want to assess him in the summer and then decide what the next step is.
Young players at the bigger Premier League clubs tend to get a number of loans under their belt before decisions are taken over their future.
Nmecha began training with City’s first-team squad last season and made three sub appearances.
Preston won the race to take him on loan in August, beating other Championship clubs to land him.
He has played 36 times for North End – 19 starts and 17 from the bench.
Those appearances have yielded just two goals though, in successive games against Aston Villa and Rotherham at the turn of the year.
After a nine-match stint as a substitute, Nmecha was brought back into the team for the derby win at Blackburn earlier in the month.
He played on the wing in the Ewood Park victory and continued in the wide role at Middlesbrough and against Birmingham.
PNE boss Alex Neil thinks a wider role will help Nmecha develop his game before he moves back into the middle.
Nmecha is currently with Germany’s Under-21s squad.
He has chosen to declare for Germany – the country of his birth – having previously played for England at six age levels.
England and Germany meet in a friendly tonight at Bournemouth.
Whether Nmecha features will depend on whether FIFA approve his switch in time. He did not play in Germany’s 2-2 draw against France last Thursday.
Another Manchester City player on loan at North End is Brandon Barker.
Aged 22 and with this his fourth loan away from City, Barker is at a different stage of his career than Nmecha.
The winger has a year left on his City contract and he could well be available for a move in the summer.
Barker was out of Preston’s squad for the best part of three months, firstly because of a hamstring strain and then due to others being ahead of him.
He has come on as a sub in the last three games and caught the eye.
PNE are back in action on Saturday when they make the trip to Reading.
More than 1,400 tickets of North End’s allocation have so far been sold.