Gavi: Can Barcelona’s shining gentle be future for Spain too?

If Gavi begins for Spain on Wednesday he’ll beat the document held by Angel Zubieta to turn out to be Spain’s youngest ever participant

There’s not a number of positivity popping out of Barcelona proper now, however one notable ray of sunshine via the storm clouds is supplied by teenage midfielder Gavi.

The 17-year-old has made solely seven first-team appearances, however has already demonstrated sufficient to persuade Spain boss Luis Enrique of his worldwide suitability.

Not solely has he been known as up for the upcoming Nations League finals – beginning Wednesday with a semi-final in opposition to European champions Italy – he has been handed the La Roja quantity 9 shirt within the newest squad.

Earlier than the sport on the San Siro, BBC Sport profiles a stellar expertise on the cusp of changing into the youngest participant to function for Spain of their historical past.

A local of Los Palacios y Villafranca close to Seville, Gavi (or Pablo Martin Paez Gavira, to present him his full identify) was recruited on the age of 11 by Barca from Actual Betis’ academy. His progress within the six years since has been speedy and spectacular.

His technical skill, shut management and pace of each thought and motion have been clear from an early age, as may be seen in a video posted by Barca final month on YouTube.

And the showreel highlights a gritty high quality in Gavi’s recreation, displaying a courageous header and one other purpose scored with a wedge of padding shoved up one nostril to stem some bleeding.

The final couple of seasons have seen fast progress, with Gavi going from under-17s straight to under-19s soccer – a uncommon transition for a participant at La Masia – earlier than graduating to a primary crew in dire want of spark and eager for a brand new homegrown hero.

Barca’s monetary woes are properly documented, their lack of talismanic academy-product Lionel Messi much more so, and their struggles on the pitch this season all too painfully clear to see.

Within the transient intervals he has been on the pitch Gavi has supplied that lacking spark.

Below-siege supervisor Ronald Koeman has stated the participant has already proven he “has a spot on this crew”.

He was man of the match in his first dwelling begin in opposition to Levante and assister of the last-minute equaliser in opposition to Granada, displaying a calmness and execution that had eluded extra skilled team-mates with a cross for Ronald Araujo to go in.

In opposition to Bayern Munich of their Champions League opener, Barca had been completely outclassed in a 3-0 dwelling defeat, however Gavi no less than introduced some struggle to the desk, getting within the face of and knocking over Joshua Kimmich, Thomas Muller and extra in a fiery 30-minute cameo.

Along with his background, prodigious expertise and identify, it’s no surprise individuals are fast to attract comparisons with certainly one of La Masia’s biggest ever graduates, Xavi.

And with fellow teenager Nico Gonzalez rising as understudy to Sergio Busquets and the ludicrously gifted Pedri already working within the Andreas Iniesta position for membership and nation, there are wildly optimistic hopes {that a} new model of that world-dominating triumvirate could possibly be cast sooner or later.

For now, although, let’s stick to the current and a possible worldwide bow for Gavi, one thing former Barca participant and boss Enrique has no reservations about handing out.

“For me, what’s harmful is taking a danger with children who you do not assume are ok, and exposing them,” he stated. “I’ve recognized him for years.

“Seeing how he is performed, I haven’t got any doubts that he could be a essential participant for his membership and the nationwide crew.

“Is it too early? Sure, it could possibly be. However he may begin in opposition to Italy, relying on what I see in coaching.

“Age is not necessary, it is your perspective, and in case you adapt to what the coach desires.”

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