4 Areas for Barcelona's Munir El Haddadi to Improve on in 2015/16

Jason Pettigrove@@jaypetti1971Contributor ISeptember 6, 2015

4 Areas for Barcelona's Munir El Haddadi to Improve on in 2015/16

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    Munir El Haddadi has suffered under the weight of expectation.
    Munir El Haddadi has suffered under the weight of expectation.VI-Images/Getty Images

    Munir El Haddadi remains a part of Barcelona's first-team squad, but he has some way to go to convince Luis Enrique he is anything more than a fringe player.

    A run of games at the beginning of last season promised much, but like so many other recent Masia graduates, Munir has flattered to deceive.

    Still only 20, there is arguably plenty of time for the youngster to develop.

    Perhaps the problem with football per se is that a sense of immediacy is often required where the integration of players is concerned.

    Being thrust into the limelight as the "next big thing" isn't conducive to bringing through a talented youngster in their own time and at their own pace.

    Let's take a look at four areas where Munir can improve and perhaps force his way into the manager's plans.


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    Munir has been slow to react to play on a number of occasions.
    Munir has been slow to react to play on a number of occasions.Alex Caparros/Getty Images

    It's fair to suggest Munir has really let himself down in this area of his play.

    Even when playing football at its most basic level, one of the first things that you are taught is not to wait for the ball to come to you. 

    Proactive not reactive.

    During much of Munir's tenure in the first team, we've seen a real lack of anticipation and nous from the player.

    Arguably the same comes with experience too—experience of knowing the team shape and the likelihood of where the ball will be played.

    However, if he's deemed good enough for the first team, surely this has to be a fundamental part of his game at senior level?

    The fact he's still some way short in this regard suggests he might not be ready to make the jump just yet.


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    The player needs to be more mobile to be effective in the role.
    The player needs to be more mobile to be effective in the role.Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

    Working the line and making yourself available is an often thankless task.

    Shuttling up and down in support in hope more than expectation can wear down even the best players, but intelligent movement is an essential part of a player's make up.

    The best players can often make use of it by not using it, bizarre as that sounds. But watch Lionel Messi in a match and concentrate on the areas he inhabits and when and where he chooses to turn on the afterburners to bamboozle the opposition defence.

    Munir can add much to his game by not being so obvious in play.

    Whether conserving energy or not, keeping one step ahead and giving his opposite number something to think about places all of the question marks at their door.

    Keep them guessing. Pull defenders away from their natural positions, creating space and opportunities for himself and others. 

    It all came so naturally for Munir in the youth sides. What's changed?


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    Dominating the exchanges is a prerequisite.
    Dominating the exchanges is a prerequisite.Associated Press

    Making the transition from the reserves to the first team is often a step too big for players, who then fall by the wayside and out of favour.

    A major reason for the same is a player's inability to deal with the physicality at elite level.

    Being thrown in at the deep end against hard-as-nails, experienced professionals is a huge wake-up call, especially for more athletic and lithe exponents.

    Munir has been bullied off of the ball far too easily since his introduction to life in the Spanish top flight, and he would do well to follow Neymar's example.

    The Brazilian's first season was a disappointment, and much of that can be attributed to Neymar being unaccustomed to the physical aspects of La Liga.

    His second season was far more acceptable—and not just in goalscoring terms.

    Let's not forget, football is a tough game. It's time Munir grew up.


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    A debut goal against Elche announced Munir's arrival into the first team, but it was the goal he scored against Benfica in the UEFA Youth League in April 2014 that really got everyone to sit up and take notice.

    As can be seen above, Munir received the ball in the centre circle, looked up and fired into the net from his own half.

    It was the icing on the cake for a player who had scored regularly for the U19's throughout that season.

    As he has found out since, however, it is an almighty step up to La Liga level, and he has struggled to replicate anything like his previous goalscoring form since his promotion.

    There are mitigating circumstances, of course.

    For example, a few minutes as a substitute here or there won't do his confidence any good whatsoever, and as we know, confidence and instinct are some of the main facets of strikers' games.

    Munir, quite simply, has to up his output when given the opportunity, taking things back to basics and stripping his game right down to its raw components to find the best way of enhancing his goals-to-chances ratio.