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Dortmund boss talks up 17-year-old son of ex-Man City midfielder after impressive debut

American attacking midfielder Gio Reyna was handed his first Bundesliga appearance in the 5-3 win over Augsburg.

Teenager Gio Reyna.
Teenager Gio Reyna.
Image: Jeff Halstead

IT WAS UNDOUBTEDLY overshadowed by Erling Haaland’s hat-trick off the bench on his Borussia Dortmund debut, but another highly-rated teenager made his bow for the club last weekend. 

17-year-old attacking midfielder Giovanni Reyna was introduced as a 76th-minute substitute in Saturday’s Bundesliga game away to Augsburg, which Dortmund came back to win 5-3 after trailing 3-1 at one point.  

The US underage sensation, who was born in England, is the son of former Manchester City, Sunderland, Rangers and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Claudio Reyna. His mother, Danielle Egan, is also an ex-international with the United States.

At 15, he was training with the first team of MLS side New York City FC — where his father was sporting director — and then-manager Patrick Vieira compared the youngster to his former France team-mate David Trezeguet (although his playing style is more reminiscent of Kaka).  

Having obtained a Portuguese passport through is paternal grandmother, Gio became eligible to sign for a European club at 16, rather than 18, and moved to Germany to acclimatise. 

On the radar of several top clubs, he chose to follow in the footsteps of current US posterboy Christian Pulisic by joining Borussia Dortmund. 

He has been playing U19s for the Black and Yellows, and was an unused substitute in a 5-0 win over Dusseldorf in December 2019. On Saturday, manager Lucien Favre brought the attacking midfielder on as a replacement for Thorgan Hazard late in the game, and Reyna didn’t look out of place. 

“You can see in training he has something about him,” Favre said today. “He’s in the right places, he does the right things. He’s doing very well for a 17-year-old. If he keeps playing like that, he’ll go places.”

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soccer-fa-barclays-premiership-manchester-city-v-arsenal-the-city-of-manchester-stadium Claudio Reyna tracking Thierry Henry during a Premier League meeting between Man City and Arsenal in 2006. Source: EMPICS Sport

On Haaland, a January signing from Red Bull Salzburg, he added: “He always trains at full throttle. If he misses a chance in training, he gets angry. It’s brilliant coaching players like this – he brings happiness, that’s good for everyone.

“You can see in training he has something about him. He’s in the right places, he does the right things. He’s doing very well for a 17-year-old. If he keeps playing like that, he’ll go places.”

Claudio Reyna signed for Man City in the summer of 2003, just as Alf-Inge Haaland was leaving the club after being forced to retire. Although the pair may not have played together, their teenage sons are now team-mates and both certainly appear to have big futures in the game. 

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Ben Blake

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