Riqui Puig was named in Quique Setien’s squad for his first Barcelona game as coach against Granada on Sunday.
Ernesto Valverde drew criticism for his refusal to give the La Masia product any first-team action this season, with the 20-year-old midfielder playing solely for Barca B in the third tier.
However, the arrival of Setien as Valverde’s replacement on Monday has seen Puig immediately moved into the first team for Granada’s visit to Camp Nou.
While Setien has a reputation for trusting youth from his stints at Las Palmas and Real Betis, his midfield options were restricted by a suspension for Frenkie de Jong and Arthur having spent six weeks out with a groin injury, though the Brazilian was included in the 18-man squad.
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When asked about Puig on Tuesday, Setien said: “I don’t know if you’ve followed my career, but this club has an extraordinary academy. While I don’t know it in-depth, they [the biggest talents] will be training with us and participating.
“Those in the first team need to be clear; talent that’s coming up will get the chances if they deserve them.
“I’ll make a special effort to take care of the kids because you can always have a new kid coming through who adds energy to everything and that provides a boost to the squad, meaning those at the top don’t relax.
“That’s very important and it sends a message to the kids in the lower ranks. It’s a message I always transmit. If they impress, earn their spot, they are perfectly able to play in the first team, that’s clear.”
Barca need to beat Granada to regain pole position in LaLiga from Real Madrid, who beat Sevilla 2-1 on Saturday.
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