Guernsey FC manager Tony Vance has revealed what Bristol City can expect from new signing Ben Acey, speaking exclusively with Football League World.
The Championship club announced last week that the 17-year-old has signed a one-year professional contract at Ashton Gate while 16-year-old Tim Ap Sion has also joined from Guernsey on a two-year scholarship.
The pair’s arrival has generated a fair bit of excitement given Alex Scott’s remarkable emergence at City in 2021/22 – with the 18-year-old winning the club’s Young Player of the Season award just two years after he joined from the Green Lions.
Acey has impressed in the Isthmian League South Central Division (the eighth tier of English football and step four of the National League System) for Guernsey but beyond a few clips, supporters are unlikely to have seen the teenager play.
Vance manages the first team and has coached the midfielder from a young age meaning he is uniquely well-positioned to offer insight into what we can expect from him at Ashton Gate.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with FLW, he said: “Look, we don’t want to get everyone’s hopes up including Ben’s but he’s a nice player. He likes to get on the ball and make things happen. He’s confident.
“He plays in a central midfield role but can play wide as well. He loves to create and has good balance.
“He’s very pretty on the eye but what he will need to do is in his first few months is definitely hit the ground running. He’s got to improve his physicality a bit but he runs some distance. He’s got good pedigree.
“There is obviously going to be a little bit of pressure on him now because of how Alex Scott has gone on to incredible things and we’ve got to make sure that there is no comparison.”
Pressed on what Acey’s best position is, Vance said: “Either an eight or a ten. Probably an eight, which is what they seem to call it these days. That’s where he likes to be to get on the ball.
“Similar to Alex when Alex broke into the Guernsey team as a youngster, you tend to start them on the bench and see how they go.
“You see them in training and they’re performing. The players see and realise that they have to play. Alex was very much like that in his early days, he was too good in training, made his mark in the first time, and then went on to Bristol City and took his chance.
“Ben has been similar, when he turned up he was performing in training. We were particularly harsh on him because he needed to improve his physicality and he stepped up to that challenge.
“He was coming off the bench and making a massive impact so like Alex, he had to start. They’ve had similar sort of journeys.
“We’ve played him wide a bit where he’s done really well and created a lot of opportunities for us but central midfield is definitely his strong point, though that’s a very competitive environment.”