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First team


Quique Sánchez Flores used six players that came through our academy system
Cuerpo Superior

When times get tough, it is only normal to look at the academy. In what has been a very difficult season so far, many academy players have been shining in the first team. While the team has been improving dramatically on the pitch, these past few weeks have seen many academy graduates consistently in the first team. Many of them have become regulars in the starting XI for their hard work in training, while others belong to the elite of the game. During Saturday's win against Real Sociedad, six former youth players featured. Jesús Navas, Sergio Ramos, Kike Salas and Isaac Romero all started - the third consecutive match with four academy products in the starting XI - while Juanlu and Manu Bueno came off the bench. Six players is the record for this season. 

Five featured in the recent fixtures against Valencia and Real Madrid, as well as against Alavés and Getafe in January. Since the start of 2024, only three matches have featured less than four academy graduates, there were three against Athletic, Ferrol and Girona. Quique Sánchez Flores constantly puts is faith in the youth. Interestingly, the first match of the 2023/24 LaLiga season to feature more than three academy products was Sánchez Flores's debut. Four played at the Nuevos Los Cármenes against Granada. Previously, that had only happened in the cup match against CD Quintanar.

But their impact is not purely numerical, they are influencing the games and their outcomes. Against Real Sociedad, Ramos scored while Isaac provided an assist. Kike Salas has become a regular starter in the back three. Jesús Navas, approaching 500 league appearances, also started but was substituted at half time after picking up an ankle injury. Juanlu came on for him, continuing to establish himself as a key part of the first-team squad.