Sports A change of coach that encourages the youth of...

A change of coach that encourages the youth of La Masia (Toni Padilla)

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A group of children were watching Quique Setién with wide eyes. The Cantabrian, then Betis’s coach, agreed to have a chat with the youngest players in the team from Seville. With a laugh, gaining the confidence of the children, Setién went on to let them go. “No burgers, no goodies or crap. You have to eat healthy things, like sportsmen,” he would say. “Study, you have to work your head. You don’t have to stop studying, eh? Good players think fast, so you have to study,” he advised. In the years he was at Betis, Setién looked back and forth at the establishment, strengthening players such as Loren Morón, Francis and, precisely, a side called the Junior Firpo, with whom he met again at Barça.

The arrival of Quique Setién, as amazing and fast as it was after five crazy days, has shaken it all up. The Cantabrian, accompanied by his assistant Eder Sarabia and one of the managers of the sports area, Ramón Planes, went to the Johan Cruyff stadium on Wednesday night to watch live the Barça B win against Badalona 2-1 . A game in which the midfielder Riqui Puig did not play, despite the fact that he has always been a starter under the guidance of García Pimienta in group III of Second B. But Setién has incorporated the early morning into the dynamics of the first team in these early days. In part, because next Sunday he will have few players in the middle of the field, because Frenkie de Jong is penalized and Arthur Melo, despite training at a good pace, continues to receive medical clearance. Puig, then, could enter Setién’s call, although the player’s environment admits, hopefully, that after the first few talks with the coach they would expect more opportunities and gradually give up. a Second B that was getting smaller. Puig, who excelled in preseason games, has been enthusiastic about his game, though his ambitious nature, which helps him understand the game, has sometimes closed the door for the first team. Valverde always opted for more experienced players, and only one young player, Ansu Fati, had managed to become a first-team regular. The first from Sergi Roberto and Carles Aleñá, who from Sevilla, where he will play for Betis, stretches his hair because he understands that with Setién he may have had more opportunities.

“The talent below, if you step in, will be because you deserve it. And everyone should be clear about it. When a new player arrives, there is always positive energy that grows the group and keeps the headlines from relaxing. . I always wanted to send this message. If a true young man progresses, he will be able to play for the first team, “said a coach on the day of the presentation, with Todibo loaned to Schalke 04. of the Uruguayan subsidiary Araujo. Carles Pérez, who has enjoyed some prominence this season, also looks forward to shining more, now that Luis Suárez is down and Dembélé has yet to recover. The arrival of the coach excited the players of the branch, who yesterday tried to offer their best. Monchu performed best with a great goal. Another player playing at a higher level than Second B.

From Lugo to Betis

“Setién’s contribution to Betis base football was key. The courage he had in betting on youth players, playing his job with young nanos that had no experience, is difficult. The guys are talented but they need the experience and they gain it in complicated situations, which is why few technicians dare to take the step. Setién yes, “says Miguel Calzado, director of Betis baseball at the club where Setién goes. to make debut more than twelve players of the establishment. At Las Palmas, where he also often volunteered to give talks to training teams, both his club and other Canary Islands entities, he made his debut for more than ten home players. Al Lugo tells that five youngsters made his debut with him, but once he left they spent two years without any footballer on the field.

Setién has visited La Masia in the past, to learn the way he works at a club he has always admired. Formed in his Racing de Santander, the team he played for and has always followed, Setién argues that clubs need “local players, from the house, to feel the colors, to create connection, to have identity”, as it goes say in a talk many years ago in Santander. On his pilgrimage to different clubs, whenever he could he had opened the door for home players, as he did at Lugo, a club that made it to Second A with great football. In the 2013-14 season, for example, he made his debut for six players in Second A with the Galician club. The following season, between official and friendly matches, he went even further, with sixteen footballers debuting, although most did not make it to the league. “Setién is always looking for young people, fostering competitiveness in the squad and being brave. Many times he remembered how Guardiola dared to debut Sergio Busquets from Third, as an example that young people need to be given opportunities to see how they can reach. play, “admits Footwear.

Against Granada, Riqui Puig, Ansu Fati and Carles Pérez dream of playing. Others look forward to joining Barça’s squads where some have hopefully received a change of coach, such as Junior Firpo and Frenkie de Jong. The casualties and busy schedule this January, with a Cup game on Wednesday, may be ideal to start watching Setién put youngsters at the helm of a millionaire project.

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