Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman hailed the club’s next generation of exciting talents after 18-year-old Ilaix Moriba became the latest teenager to make his mark in a 2-0 win against Osasuna in a league clash on Saturday.
Moriba scored his first goal for the club in a game where Koeman fielded seven players aged 23 or under.
As a player under great Dutch coach Johan Cruyff, Koeman was part of a Barca side fuelled by youngsters including Pep Guardiola and he is now overseeing a team crammed with youthful talent.
“The most important thing for me is that the players are competitive. For me age doesn’t count, what counts is what I see on the pitch,” Koeman told reporters after Barca moved to within two points of La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid.
Koeman praised the impact of fellow Dutchman Frenkie de Jong and US international Sergino Dest, big-money recruits from Ajax Amsterdam, as well as homegrown players such as Oscar Mingueza, Ilaix, Riqui Puig and forward Ansu Fati.
“In the Netherlands, it’s much easier to field young players because the championship doesn’t have as much quality as the Spanish league but there’s also a lot of talent in Barcelona’s academy,” he said.
“These players deserve the opportunities they are getting. If we keep playing like this we can win things, and if we can do this while playing with youngsters, even better.
“Players like Pedri, Ilaix, Riqui, Mingueza and Ronald Araujo have proven they have a great future. And as a coach I’ve always given youngsters a chance as they’re the future of a club,” concluded Koeman.
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By FARPost Reporter