13 clean sheets in 18 starts, 93% tackle completion rate and 0.65 goals conceded per game. There's no denying that these stats are impressive for any centre-back to possess. What makes it more impressive is that these stats are that of a 19-year-old. The Serbian brick wall Matija Nastasic.
Joining a squad that had just won a Premier League title, many would have expected the Serbian starlet to be eased into the game, earmarked as one for the future, somebody who could be developed into the perfect centre-back over a period of time. However, all didn't go to plan.
With defensive juggernaut Vincent Kompany spending the majority of this season watching from the side lines, Nastasic was thrown into the thick of the action in his first season, thrown into a back four with quite the reputation for keeping clean sheets, and oh how he impressed.
Effectively dumping England international Joleon Lescott straight out of the squad and securing himself a starting XI spot, Nastasic has displayed something critics and fans alike never saw coming - a 19-year-old who plays with the composure and capabilities of a 30-year-old veteran.
Somewhat immune to nervousness, he plays each game with no hint of weakness to him. Confidence and intelligence beams out of him, the likes of which his Serbian counterpart Nemanja Vidic could only dream of possessing when he was 19-years-old. Whilst Vidic may be a brick wall, Nastasic's awareness is something to be in awe of.
Now why would Nastasic be dubbed the best centre-back of the season? Well, as a player who has no possible right to walk into the Premier League and be this good.
With constant rotation to the back four as well as injuries and international duties, Nastasic has had to play with different players week in, week out. All of which he has taken in his stride.
If Kompany can stay fit next season then the Belgian and Nastasic will become regular partners next season and this would make the Citizens frighteningly difficult to score against.
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