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14.10.2008 12:24

Caparrós and Guardiola in support of home-grown talent

Jesús Carrillo

Athletic Club and FC Barcelona play this Sunday in a game between two managers, Josep Guardiola and Joaquín Caparrós, who are huge fans of drawing on their own club’s youth players.

Both these managers share the philosophy that it is not just big name imports that make a solid team. The FC Barcelona manager has drawn upon the likes of Pedro Rodríguez, Sergio Busquets and Víctor Sánchez, who have been promoted from Division Three, Group V matches to the bright lights of the Camp Nou. We could also include Gerard Piqué here, a 21 year old who may already have Premiership and Champions League experience with Manchester United, but was also a product of the Barça youth system.

Caparrós makes his mark

Somebody who would appreciate what Guardiola is doing is Bilbao boss Caparrós, who since he took over the club has maintained the philosophy he originally developed in Sevilla’s Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.

‘Jokin’, as he his known, took command of Sevilla when they were in the second division. He used youth players as the basis to turn one of the most disappointing Sevilla sides in recent history into what is arguably the finest generation the club has ever produced.

Capel, Navas, Ramos, Puerta…

Capel.jpgSevilla was enraptured by the talents of the many players that were brought up from the reserve side coached at the time by Manolo Jiménez. Caparrós was the man who gave chances to the now famous Jesús Navas, Diego Capel, Javier Casquero, David Prieto and the late Antonio Puerta, who all quickly became regular starters for Sevilla.

It was these players that managed to fill Sevilla’s stadium again and the sense of local identity worked wonders for rebuilding a team that was soon back where it belonged – in the first division.

Reyes the first

The first real star to emerge from the Sevilla youth setup was José Antonio Reyes, who made extraordinary progress, and within two years of his debut was snapped up London club Arsenal for 24 million euros. Reyes’ move to Arsenal, plus those of Sergio Ramos and Julio Baptista to Real Madrid, are the finest examples of the good work done by Caparrós to encourage local talent. And then there was Dani Alves, who the Sevilla manager nurtured to perfection, and sold on to Barça for a handsome fee.

Now at Bilbao

GETAFE-ATHLETICalegria.jpgSince last season, Bilbao has also witnessed a similar project that has seen players of the calibre of Balenziaga, Ion Vélez, Ustaritz and Susaeta coming up from the reserve team, and all of them are likely to be in the eleven that takes on Barça on Sunday. Caparrós and Guardiola may be from different generations, but both share the idea that the present and the future of their respective clubs lies in their own reserve and youth teams.

Photos: Athletic Club and Sevilla FC.
Photos: Athletic Club and Sevilla FC.
Riazor in the same direction
With Caparrós at Riazor, Deportivo also found home-grown talent being used where other clubs may have looked elsewhere for potential players. Barragán, Xisco and Adrián all got their first chances in the top flight by order of the Andalusian boss, while he also brought in two products of FC Barcelona’s own Masia in the form of Joan Verdú and Cristian Hidalgo.

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