Valverde: Barca academy crucial

Barcelona Coach Ernesto Valverde has insisted he is continuing to monitor the club’s La Masia academy in search of new talents.

There have been concerns over recent seasons that Barca have neglected their famed youth system while there have been calls for Riqui Puig, 19, to be included in the senior ranks to replace Andres Iniesta.

“This is a club with strong traditions and should always be referencing its academy,” Valverde told Barcelona’s official website.

“We always want to encourage players from the youth team to make a bridge with the first-team and to give opportunities to play alongside the senior players.

“It is much more nuanced than just putting young players in the first-team and thinking everything will be ok, because the demands and scrutiny are a different level.

“Barcelona have a very strong identity and we are continuously looking for players to fit into that, especially if they are from within the club.

“I’m excited by what I see in our B team, there are lots of talented players.”

Tags Ernesto Valverde