Five La Liga youngsters primed to break out in the 2019-20 season

The 2019-20 season is upon us and ahead of next month’s curtain raiser, we take a look at five youngsters who ought to enjoy a break out La Liga campaign.

Every season gives us a taste of what is to come in the years to come as highly talented youngsters make the jump up to first-team football. As far as La Liga is concerned, the likes of Fran Beltran, Ferran Torres and Vinicius Junior are among those who made us take notice of their talents last season.

With the 2019-20 La Liga season not too far away, The Hard Tackle takes a look at five players to watch, who are poised to enjoy a breakthrough campaign and become regulars in their respective sides.

Diego Lainez (Real Betis)

Explosive and exciting. (Photo by Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty Images)
Explosive and exciting. (Photo by Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty Images)

Perhaps the most exciting talent in our list, Diego Lainez ought to fancy his chances following the appointment of Rubi as the new Real Betis manager. Former boss Quique Setien showed a preference towards the 3-4-2-1 formation, which did not exactly suit the strengths of the Mexican.

As a result, Lainez was restricted to just three league starts after making the move to the La Liga club from America in January. But, with Rubi at the helm at the Benito Villamarin Stadium, the 19-year-old can expect to get more starts under his belt, especially in the wake of some glowing comments from his teammates during Betis’ pre-season campaign.

As for Rubi, the 49-year-old Spaniard has shown a tendency to work with youngsters and hand them regular minutes if they repay his trust well. This was evident in his most recent job as the Espanyol head coach, where as many as four youth players were handed their first-team debuts last season.

A sprightly winger who loves to take on his full-back, Lainez could be the X-Factor in a Real Betis side that will look to make amends after a disappointing 2018-19 campaign. The 19-year-old also does not let his slight frame bog him down and has, in fact, made it his strength, using the low centre of gravity to his advantage.

And, in a team that is starting to get laden with superstars, the latest being Nabil Fekir, the teenager could flow under the radar, quietly going about his job while providing an injection of youthful exuberance.

More importantly, seeing as Rubi favours the 4-2-3-1 formation, there should be plenty of chances on offer for Lainez, who only has Cristian Tello for competition on the left flank. Add to it, the fact that he can operate across the attacking midfield line means that 2019-20 ought to be the season wherein the Mexican international enjoys his La Liga breakthrough.

Adria Pedrosa (Espanyol)

A star in the making. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
A star in the making. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Speaking of Rubi and the youngsters he handed the opportunities while at Espanyol, here is one who impressed the most last term. Having made his first-team debut for Los Periquitos, Pedrosa made such a rapid impression on his then manager that he ended up usurping Didac Vila towards the end of the season.

The 21-year-old started six of the last seven La Liga games for Espanyol and there has been every reason to believe that the 2019-20 season would be one wherein he will nail down the left-back slot for good. But, with a new manager in David Gallego in-charge of Espanyol from this season, there had been some uncertainties.

Those uncertainties have since been put to rest, with Pedrosa starting both of Espanyol’s UEFA Europa League qualifying fixtures against Icelandic outfit Stjarnan Gardabaer. And, he has impressed in both the games, with a goal and an assist to show for his efforts thus far.

As the new season beckons, it looks as if Pedrosa might already be nailed as the Espanyol left-back, leaving Didac Vila to be his understudy. A new Spanish left-back superstar in the making? Only time will tell, but the signs are good.

Federico Valverde (Real Madrid)

The long-term solution to Real Madrid's midfield woes? (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
The long-term solution to Real Madrid’s midfield woes? (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Real Madrid are not exactly renowned for being a club that grooms youngsters into world beaters, despite their recent influx of talented prospects. In fact, apart from Marco Asensio, none of their young players have managed to break the stronghold of the superstars of the team that have played a major role in their recently ended European domination.

There was a fleeting period when Sergio Reguilon had usurped Marcelo, while Vinicius Junior is a player who is primed for big things after a stunning maiden campaign with Real Madrid. Vinicius may continue his upward trajectory this term, but has plenty of competition for places in attack, while Reguilon has been shipped out to Sevilla on loan.

However, Federico Valverde could be primed to break the trend that has dominated the Real Madrid first-team for years. While Los Blancos have spent heavily this summer, midfield has been overlooked for one reason or another. And, this is why Fede, as he is affectionately called, would fancy his chances ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Zinedine Zidane, who has been known to prefer not to rotate the formidable trio of Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos much, handed Valverde five of his six La Liga starts last season – an indication that the 21-year-old might be poised for a big season ahead.

What works in the Uruguayan’s favour is the fact that he can operate as a defensive midfielder and a box-to-box midfielder equally adeptly. And, at a time when the injuries are starting to pile up for Casemiro, Valverde is exactly the kind of player to sit in the Real Madrid engine room to allow Kroos and Modric the freedom to return to their best in the ensuing campaign.

Alternatively, if either of the creative stalwarts continue struggling in the 2019-20 season, he could be a player to step into their shoes and offer some dynamism from midfield. Either way, Valverde looks primed to enjoy a breakout La Liga campaign, wherein he could be key to Real Madrid’s resurgence.

Rodrigo Tarin (Leganes)

Will Tarin finally come good this season? (Photo by Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty Images)
Will Tarin finally come good this season? (Photo by Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty Images)

Barcelona have been infamous in recent years for the exodus of youngsters from La Masia, while those with the reserve teams have eventually had to leave the club as well. One player falling into such a category is Rodrigo Tarin.

Having graduated from the fabled youth setup, Tarin spent three seasons with Barcelona B, amassing 50 appearances for the side. But, having failed to break through into the top division, he exited the Catalan club to join Leganes last summer.

But, it was far from an ideal move to begin with for the Spaniard, who did not make his debut for Los Pepineros until the end of September. Then, when it looked like he was going to become a regular for Mauricio Pellegrino, injury struck a cruel blow in December and he had to wait for three more months to regain that status.

Ahead of the 2019-20 season though, chances are he is unlikely to drop down the pecking order. Under the guidance of Dimitrios Siovas and captain Unai Bustinza, Tarin ought to continue his development and carve a place for himself in the Leganes backline.

Tarin does have Josua Mejias, returning from a loan spell from FC Cartagena, and Alex Martin for competition. But, having impressed Pellegrino enough in the season gone by, the 23-year-old ought to be ahead of his younger teammates. Will Tarin continue his upward trajectory in the season to come? The defender would certainly hope so.

Aihen Munoz (Real Sociedad)

Aihen Munoz (R) has given Real Sociedad supporters a lot to be excited about. (Photo by Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)
Aihen Munoz (R) has given Real Sociedad supporters a lot to be excited about. (Photo by Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Ending our list with another defender, we have picked a player who hails from a team that is brimming with plenty of talented youngsters who will be looking to make their mark in the 2019-20 La Liga season.

But, among such a promising crop of prospects, it is Aihen Munoz who caught the eye the most, keeping our theme in mind. Ander Barrenetxea, who, at 17, is already a part of the first-team setup, was another player who was considered. But, we reckon the teenage prodigy might take another season to become a regular.

As for Munoz, he embarked on a journey similar to that of another of the players we mentioned earlier – Adria Pedrosa. Like Pedrosa, Munoz a 21-year-old Spaniard who took little time to leave a lasting impression on his manager after breaking into the first-team setup.

Having made his La Liga debut in January, the full-back was a part of every single matchday squad upon breaking into the team, which is an indication enough as to how highly Imanol Alguacil rates him. But, Munoz also bide his time, with Kevin Rodrigues being the first-choice left-back in the three months that followed his top-flight debut.

However, he also grabbed his chances with both hands when they presented themselves. Munoz started each of the last seven La Liga games for Real Sociedad last season, particularly impressing in their 2-1 win over Real Madrid. And, in an interview with AS last month, the 21-year-old appeared to be confident about his prospects heading into the 2019-20 season.

Having been quite impressive in the opportunities that were afforded to him, there is no reason why Munoz cannot be the flag bearer of the young brigade at Real Sociedad in the season to come. Kevin Rodrigues will have a tough time getting his place back, with the confident Munoz impressing his manager.

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