A lot is being said on how Koeman is managing the young promising players in Barcelona. Are they given enough opportunities? Should they play on the crucial games? The fans have increased this debate in the last few months accusing the Dutch coach from not using the players from the academy that much.
The truth is that, despite many ones think, elite football is something that must be taken seriously. It has been said that, for example, that Alejandro Baldé (17), Gavi Páez (17), Yusuf Demir (18) and Nico (19) should all have been starters against Bayern Munich.
We are talking about teenagers, guys that have barely started their professional career and whose minutes against senior teams have been low. To believe that Barça can compete against one of the best teams in the world with five or six players under the age of 21 is absolutely ridiculous.
Aside from the trajectory of Koeman at Barça, I do not think that the way he has managed the young talent should be questioned. Ronald Araújo, Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, Sergiño Dest and Óscar Mingueza were all key players last season and, except for Dest and Mingueza, regular starters on this campaign. Trincão and Ilaix Moriba had their own opportunities as well.
What can´t be expected at all is the promising players to replace the veterans just like that. Firstly because, as its own name tells, they are future projects; but also because the majority of footballers need to gain experience on more average games to develop their potential and then shine on the big stages. Otherwise, there is a risk on burning them down right away.
For all these reasons, I consider that we all must be more cautious and common sense when talking about elite teams and academy players/young signs. They are people too and the mental aspect can play a big role. To be humiliated by Bayern at the age of 17 does not make any favor to any player.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.