Barça's young players prove that they can be called upon when needed
The likes of Demir, Nico, Balde and Gavi will have impressed Koeman this pre-season
FC Barcelona's young talents picked a good day to show that they can be trusted by head coach Ronald Koeman. On the day that Leo Messi bid farewell to the club, a series of young players proved that they can be trusted against high-class teams such as Juventus. While Messi is completely irreplaceable, these young players stood up to the challenge and offered a message of hope to the club's fans: with their excellent attitude, impressive work rate and the quality that they demonstrate on the pitch, perhaps there is light at the end of this particularly dark tunnel. However, while there is reason to be positive about the club's emerging talents, Barça fans must also be patient with them.
Yusuf Demir's position in the starting XI will have caught the eye of many fans. While he usually plays out on the right hand side, cutting in on his favoured left foot, he started yesterday's match in the inside left position in the midfield band. Playing more centrally, he was able to find pockets of space and dazzle fans with his accurate passes and ability to break the lines through his off-the-ball running. Speaking about Demir after the game, Koeman said "Yusuf is one of the best young players involved in the first team squad. He is very talented". After yesterday's performance, he will surely be considered for this deeper midfield role when needed by his manager.
Nico and Balde were brought on in the second half and also stood out. The Galician midfielder demonstrated his athleticism and impressive composure during the game, while the young left back was able to burst past defenders and contribute to moves in the attacking third. If they remain at this level, both Nico and Balde will be considered as back-up options for Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, respectively. Riqui Puig, who scored with a left-footed shot from the edge of the box, Araujo and Dest also impressed in last night's friendly.
Vice-president Yuste: excited about the young players
Rafael Yuste, vice-president of FC Barcelona, told the club's official channels that "the thing I liked most about the game was seeing all the 17 and 18 year old lads on the pitch. They play with a great intensity, rhythm and enthusiasm, and the fans love this".
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