When injuries hit, the instinct is to fill out your first team with young players. Barcelona have been hit with a string of injuries forcing them to look within to fill out the matchday squad. This week it’s likely that either Pau Cubarsí or Mikayil Faye will find their way onto the bench for the games against Athletic Club in La Liga and Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.
The injury to Jules Kounde has forced the situation, but having a youth-team player sitting on the bench used only in case of emergency is far from the ideal situation for development.
Take the case of Marc Casadó, a talented and highly-rated central midfielder. Xavi opted to carry Casadó in every matchday squad up to the 3-2 win over Celta Vigo. In all that time he played 0 minutes, in six matchdays he failed to see the pitch.
Casadó is a 20-year-old player who needs to be playing regular football to continue his development. While being around the senior side will bring some advantages, they won’t bring enough to mask the missed development from playing.
Xavi agrees to not call up players to sit them on the bench with the first-team
According to a report from Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona manager Xavi has agreed with Barça Atlètic manager Rafa Márquez that he won’t call up players to just sit on the bench, a decision made largely due to the Casadó situation.
As mentioned in the piece on MD, Casadó is a vital component of Marquez’s team and while the first team will always be the priority, player development has to be a focus as well.
“There is one Barça Atlètic when he plays and another when he is not there,” Marquez said about Casadó who has trained with the first team a lot in the past, and who will likely be given an opportunity to claim a spot next season.