How Hansi Flick can use the youth at Barcelona – Analysis


DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 23: Hansi Flick, Head Coach of Germany, is seen prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Germany and Japan at Khalifa International Stadium on November 23, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

It is not hard to imagine the dangerous state FC Barcelona would have been in without their youth. Over the last couple of seasons, the Catalan club has been heavily restricted in the transfer market. As a consequence, Barcelona have been forced to rely on their youth to give them the help and support they need.

Many youngsters such as Lamine Yamal, and Pau Cubarsi, and even the more experienced Golden Boys such as Pedri and Gavi have been vital for Barcelona. Beyond just being important players on the field for Barça, these key starlets have ended up providing stability to a team that has lacked it for quite some time.

However, while managers like Ronald Koeman and Xavi Hernandez, who respect the traditions of Barcelona, seemed to rely a lot on the youngsters at the club and gave many of them their first opportunities, the arrival of new coach Hansi Flick is sure to be an intriguing one in terms of how exactly he deals with the youth of the club.

At the very least, it would be an interesting idea to look at the main young protagonists of the first team who were available under Xavi. This includes the likes of Pedri, Gavi, Alejandro Balde, Fermin Lopez, Lamine Yamal, Hector Fort, Marc Guiu, and Pau Cubarsi.

The two breakout stars of 2023/2024:

When it comes to the primary breakout stars who featured in the most recent season for Barcelona, both Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi are undoubtedly the names that come to mind. Both Spaniards offered excellence in terms of their respective positions, and their place was unquestionable under Xavi.

However, it will be important to see if Hansi Flick considers them equally indispensable. Given their young age, the German coach might prefer to use them sparingly to avoid overuse, which could lead to muscular fatigue and injuries. Additionally, it remains to be seen how Flick might deploy other players more effectively in their respective positions.

The two Golden Boys:

Both Pedri and Gavi, previous winners of the prestigious Golden Boy Award, have had to deal with their fair share of injuries. Gavi, currently dealing with a severe ACL injury, is expected to return next season with the hopes of picking up where he left off, and Pedri has managed to end the season without an injury this time around.

For Flick, both of these midfielders could be instrumental. Pedri’s technical quality is second to none and his understanding of the game completely tilts entire matches at a time in the favor of Barcelona.

Gavi, on the other hand, embodies the type of midfielder Flick would value, possessing a blend of technical mastery and physical relentlessness.

The free-scoring machine:

Then comes the case of Fermin Lopez, an anomaly even within Barça’s own spectrum. His goal-scoring ability, dynamism, and aggressiveness in terms of his football, are all at an elite level already. Something about Flick depending on Lopez feels like just the right fit for the former Bayern and German National team coach.

The two fullbacks:

When it comes to Alejandro Balde and Hector Fort, there is a great deal of optimism. Hansi Flick is a coach who seems to rely a lot on his fullbacks, especially ones who like to drive forward to aid in his offensive system and have the ability to make a difference.

In short, Alejandro Balde feels like just the right fit for the kind of football that Flick likes to play. Even in terms of his profile, Balde could offer the German coach a player who can act as a second coming of Alphonso Davies, someone who arguably had his best season with Bayern while playing under Flick.

Hector Fort, on the other hand, may have to resort to being an occasional substitute or rotational player unless something truly momentous takes place.

The emergency striker:

Lastly, the case of Marc Guiu feels like a straightforward one. In the event that even Vitor Roque begins to get acknowledged, on top of the fact that Robert Lewandowski is already there and will be Flick’s primary target man, Guiu’s playtime will mainly resort around the occasional cameos from time to time.

Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun is a life-long fan of FC Barcelona and an avid enjoyer of all things Blaugrana. Having fallen in love with the club for the way they defined football for him, he now spends his time watching games, analyzing the happenings in them, and digesting any and everything related to his beloved Catalan club. He also writes as an author for Barca News Network hoping to deliver the latest updates to his fellow ‘culés’.

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