The midfielder joins Pedri, Ansu Fati, Ronald Araujo, Oscar Mingueza and Riqui Puig in the senior squad and even scored his first goal against Osasuna in Barcelona’s 2-0 win on Saturday night.
The youngster at Barcelona have a great future
Ronald Koeman highlighted his youth policy after Ilaix Moriba became the latest starlet to impact the Barcelona first team. The midfielder joins Pedri, Ansu Fati, Ronald Araujo, Oscar Mingueza and Riqui Puig in the senior squad and even scored his first goal against Osasuna in Barcelona’s 2-0 win on Saturday night. “It was a great goal,” Koeman said on the Ilaix’s strike. “Every time he comes into the team, he adds something. He is good on the ball and a physically strong boy. He pushes more to be in the first lineup. We are proud to be able to bring younger players through the ranks. We do it because they deserve to have the opportunity. People like Pedri, Ilaix, Puig, Mingueza and Araujo show that they have a great future. As a coach, I have always provided opportunities for young people because they are the future of the club.”
Age doesn’t matter for Koeman
As a Dutch coach, Koeman was asked if this is easier given that there is a strong tradition of empowering youth in the Netherlands. “Of course, it’s easier to bring young players through in the Netherlands because the league standard is not the same as here, but I think Barcelona have a lot of talent in their ranks,” Koeman admitted. “They deserve these opportunities. But playing youngster is not an excuse. We must win here if you can do it with youngsters, even better. The most important thing for me is that they are competitive. Age doesn’t matter to me, and it’s what I see on the pitch that matters.” Barcelona have now won four straight games in all competitions as they strive to stay in the LaLiga title race. “We need to keep winning,” Koeman said. “It wasn’t our best game, but we were fine and deserved to win. I’m happy. The run of form is important. Let’s hope we can stay on the right track. Any result suits us tomorrow.”
As for their European hopes, Barcelona will travel to Paris in midweek for their Champions League’s return leg match against Paris Saint-Germain. “We need to rest, and we need to prepare for this game,” noted Koeman. “I don’t want to say that it’s impossible, but we are going to go there to get a good result.”