Els joves de l'handbol formatiu que estan a Encamp. / FOTO: Àlex Caparrós-FCB

The Olympic Games have left Xavi Pascual without 10 of his first team players. To complete the squad and get the pre-season underway at Encamp, the Azulgrana manager has called up 11 reserve players.

Familiar faces

Since the handball manager arrived to FC Barcelona, he’s given a couple of the youth players their debut with the first team.

Three of the youngsters that are currently at Encamp know what it’s like to play for FC Barelona Intersport’s first team. The first was the FC Barcelona B pivot Adrià Figueras. He made his debut in 2006 in the Champions League against Panellinios.

Two seasons ago, the forward Aitor Ariño made his debut for the first team, he was an U-18 player at the time, and last season David Balaguer featured in the match away to Croatia Zagreb.

The core of the B team made up of champions

Marc García and Johny Medina, who are also training with the first team at Encamp, both played with Ariño, Balaguer and Figueras in the FC Barcelona B team that won the División de Honor Plata, the second division of the Spanish handball league.

Another player that has featured for the B team and is currently training with the first team is the U-18 keeper, Nacho Biosca.

New signing

Michal Kasal is also training with Barça Intersport at Encamp. Kasal is the newest addition to the FC Barcelona B team.

The Czech left back, 18 years old and stands 209 cm tall, is one of the biggest prospects in European handball and Pascual didn’t want to miss out on the chance to work with him this summer.

The youngest players

With the idea of giving the youth players some time with the first team, Pascual brought four additional youngsters to Encamp. Two of them are U-18 players: the keeper Fran Revuelta and the defender Xavi Castro.

The youngest of the bunch are Pere Arnau and Gerard Carmona. The two U-15 players are experiencing what it means to train alongside players like Juanín, Saric, Rutenka, Noddesbo, Montoro and Stranovsky.

On-loan players

FC Barcelona have three youngsters out on loan to other teams in the Asobal League. Gonalo Pérez de Vargas, keeper born in Toldeo, will play his second season with Fraikin Granollers. Another keeper, Rodrigo Corrales, will defend the goal of BM Huesca Asobal.

Carlos Molina, left back, will start the season with BM Aragón Asobal. His on-loan spell started with the team halfway through last season.

The contribution made by the youngsters

The fact that there are so many capable reserve players at Encamp is “an achievement,” according to Xavi Pascual. The manager added, “the players that are here deserve to be here. They helped us tremendously last season.

“They adapt quickly to the team dynamic, it’s all very easy, seeing that all the teams, from the youth teams to the first team, play a similar style.”

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