Luis Enrique Will Give Youth a Chance in His Barcelona Side

Rik Sharma@@riksharma_Featured ColumnistJuly 28, 2014

Luis Enrique has new ideas.
Luis Enrique has new ideas.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Luis Enrique will bring plenty of new ideas and methods to Barcelona for the 2014-15 season, but one of the most interesting is his focus on youth.

As the former coach of Barcelona's B team, he knows a lot of the younger players at the club very well indeed.

Barcelona have traveled to St George's Park on Monday to train in England for a week.

As well as the first-teamers, eight Barca B players are also heading over.

Alen Halilovic, Adama Traore and Alex Grimaldo are among the most promising of those, all trying to impress Enrique in pre-season.

All three played well against Recreativo Huelva in the club's first pre-season friendly.

One of Enrique's first decisions as Barcelona boss was to promote Jordi Masip, Gerard Deulofeu and Rafinha from the youth side up to the first-team squad.

While we are likely to see a lot more of Deulofeu and Rafinha than Masip, the goalkeeper spoke positively about Enrique's open-mindedness.

Jordi Masip (left) is pleased with Enrique's words.
Jordi Masip (left) is pleased with Enrique's words.David Ramos/Getty Images

Per Juan Manuel Diaz in Sport, Enrique had said that if he had to choose a goalkeeper for the season right now, he would pick Masip.

The stopper said: "It's because he knows me and does not know Marc Andre Ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo's abilities yet. But I am very flattered and motivated to do the difficult things (to play)."

It's clear Enrique's arrival has caused excitement among the younger players at the club, because of the coach's willingness to give youth a chance.

He knows Rafinha well, having managed him last year while at Celta Vigo, where the Barcelona midfielder was on loan.

Rafinha taking on Real Madrid for Celta.
Rafinha taking on Real Madrid for Celta.Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Rafinha, brother of Thiago Alcantara, was one of the most impressive performers of last season and will hope that he can earn chances in Barcelona's midfield.

How the team will line up is a little bit of a jigsaw at the moment, with Sergio Busquets, Javier Mascherano, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic and Rafinha all tussling for a place in the team.

Per Ben Hayward on Goal.com, former team-mate and assistant Ivan de la Pena thinks Enrique's time spent at Barcelona will be useful to him ahead of this new era at the club. He said:

Luis Enrique is the ideal coach for Barca. He's the best possible candidate. Knowing a team like Barca helps so much in a job like this one. It's not just any club; you need to know where you are and what is expected of you. And Luis Enrique knows the club better than anyone.

He knows Deulofeu well and the forward, on loan at Everton last season, was key to helping Barcelona win against Recreativo Huelva, with his shot being parried away before Joan Roman tucked home during the 1-0 triumph.ย 

Deulofeu says he is ready to take any chances afforded to him this season.

With Luis Suarez suspended until late October, barring a successful appeal, and Neymar lacking fitness after being injured during the World Cup, the start of the season should give him a few opportunities.

Gerard Deulofeu may play a big part for Barca.
Gerard Deulofeu may play a big part for Barca.David Ramos/Getty Images

He said, per Sport's Toni Juanmarti:ย  "I'm coming from behind, you have to be realistic. We know that Barca are the best. I have to work hard but I hope to earn my position."

Enrique works his players hard in training, and this season will be a distinctly different experience for the stars than last season under Tata Martino.

If Deulofeu does continue operating at a high level in training and takes his chances when they come, there's no reason why he can't play a huge part this season.

The same goes for Marc Bartra and Martin Montoya. The latter, in particular, was not favoured by Martino, but he could find a new lease of life under Enrique.ย 


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