Xavi Calls Up Barcelona Teen After ‘Falling In Love’ With His Game

Xavi Hernandez

Getty Xavi Hernandez

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has called up another two of the club’s impressive youngsters for the team’s next La Liga match against Elche on Saturday, April 1.

Aleix Garrido and Estanis Pedrola make the list as Xavi is without several key men due to injuries and suspension. Midfielders Frenkie de Jong and Pedri are both injured along with forward Ousmane Dembele, while Raphinha misses out through suspension.

Xavi spoke about Garrido in particular at his pre-match press conference and explained what he can offer and why he decided to include him in his squad for the trip to Elche.

“Aleix deserves to be in the squad list. He would have been called up before, but he had an injury,” he said. “Aleix’s talent is in the last pass. He’s a really talented player. The final pass is what we are missing the most when we don’t have Pedri.”

The Barcelona boss has called up Garrido after falling “in love” with his game, according to Relevo. The youngster’s contract is up in 2024 but Barca want him to stay and are showing their faith by giving him a first-team call-up.

Both players may have a chance of some first-team minutes against La Liga’s bottom side. Elche head into the match 13 points adrift at the bottom of the table, having managed just 13 points so far this season.

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Garrido In No Rush

Garrido is yet to make his first-team debut for Barcelona but has previously said he’s in no rush to make the breakthrough. The teenager has seen former team-mates Gavi and Alejandro Balde make the step up but is prepared to be patient, as reported by Sport.

“Today you see many youngsters who are already having minutes with the first team like Gavi, but I’m in no hurry,” he said. “I’m where they tell me and I try to do my best in each training session and that’s how things will come to pass.”

Xavi has already handed a host of youngsters their debuts since taking over the club. Angel Alarcon was the most recent player to make his first-team bow, coming on as a substitute in the Copa del Rey win over Ceuta in January.

Estanis Shining For Reserves

Xavi has also called up Pedrola after some impressive performances for the reserves. The teenager scored twice in a 2-1 win over CE Sabadell over the international break and has already been praised by Xavi this season.

Pedrol has insisted he remains focused on Barcelona Atletic this season but is learning a lot from his opportunities with the first team,  as reported by Sport.

“I’m focused on the reserve team. If something has to come, it will. I’m very grateful for the training sessions and opportunities they’re offering me,” he explained. Whenever I go up, they try to correct all kinds of details; I’m very grateful to the club.”

Pedrola also has a good chance of minutes with Dembele and Raphinha out. Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres are expected to start but the youngster will be hoping for another cameo off the bench.

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