Squad news


19 Sep 2013
The current situation at Deportivo is moving the club to rely in the academy players; the situation was so extreme that, last week in Copa Del Rey, Fernando Vázquez presented the youngest squad for an official match in 29 years.

Almost a decade ago there was a lot of talking regarding the figure of the “Baby Depor”, a failed project that president Lendoiro tried to create after the Champions League years. The idea was to build up a strong squad based in homegrown players “born” in Abegondo mixed with young prospects coming from other clubs, mainly Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

In this way young men like Arizmendi, Antonio Barragán, Adríán López and Joan Verdú landed at Depor and the idea was to mix them with academy players like Piscu, Chapi or Iago Iglesias. For the job the club decided to hire Joaquín Caparrós, coach known at the time for his solid work at the youth teams of Sevilla CF.

The project was named “Baby Depor” by the media, but it just lasted two years, the time Caparrós stayed at the club before leaving to Athletic Bilbao. The outside players destined to the project left the club in the following years, some of them for free, while the youngsters of the academy never got a solid chance to stay at the first team.

The youngest squad used by Caparrós in the period was the one presented for the Copa match against Racing Santander on October 25, 2006. The Galicians won the game (1-0) using this team: Munúa - Manuel Pablo, Rodri, Juanma, Capdevila - Duscher, Juan Rodríguez (Filipe 57') - Estoyanoff, Verdú, Iago (Cristian 83') - Adrián López (Riki 73').

The average age of the starting eleven was 25.60 years. It was an improvement taking in mind that with Javier Irureta the average age of the starting teams was close to the 30’s. But, curiously, it wasn’t the youngest Depor’s squad for an official game during this century. Caparrós’ successor, Miguel Ángel Lotina, presented a younger team for the first game in Copa Del Rey 2007/08 facing RCD Espanyol (1-1)

It was December 19, 2007 and the average age of the starting lineup was 24.38. The lineup used in that encounter was: Munúa – Barragán, Chapi (Aythami 85’), Piscu, Filipe – Lafita, Sergio, Juan Rodriguez, Cristian – Adrián (Bodipo 81’), Riki (Rubén Castro 63’).

Juan Rodriguez and Filipe during the game in 2007 played in Montjuic

During the era with Caparrós and Lotina it was normal to witness the debut of young players during the Copa matches, so the average age of the team was around the 25. After the exit of Lotina, with Depor suffering the relegation to Segunda, the club opted in relying in more veteran players; in this way it was possible to break the record of points during the Liga Adelante season 2011/2012.

But the project of Abegondo continued working, now without the same impact in the media and it has been forced to grow up prematurely ahead of the present season. All of this caused by the Bankruptcy Administration as they forced the exit of some of the best paid players at the team, which lead to have a first team only composed by 17 players. It moved coach Fernando Vázquez to rely in young prospects like Bicho, Uxío, Enrique Fornos and Dani Iglesias.

In this way, and as it happened before with Caparrós and Lotina, Fernando Vázquez ended presented a very young squad in the early stages of Copa Del Rey. And it turned to be the youngest team on this century and the youngest since 1984.

The Depor team that played last Wednesday at the Nuevo Arcángel, the youngest on this century

For the Copa visit to Córdoba CF, played on last Wednesday, Depor’s coach presented this lineup: Fabricio – Seoane, Uxío (Deák 27’), Álex Bergantiños, Manuel Pablo – Wilk, Teles – Cañi (Dani Iglesias 64’), Juan Carlos, Bicho (Fornos 87’) – Luis.

The average age of the team was 24.29 years. Slightly younger than Lotina’s squad and the average could have been lower if it was it for the presence of Manuel Pablo; the 37-year-old captain of Depor is the oldest player at the first team and was a starter in this match.  The Canarian was one of the only three players at that lineup that are above the 25’s (the others are Álex Bergantiños and Wilk). Also to notice that nine of the eleven starter are coming from the academy, only Manuel Pablo and Wilk are the exceptions.

So, the game in Copa against Córdoba CF will not only enter into the history of the club as the match in which more penalties were thrown, but also because it was the game in which the club presented the youngest team on this century. The stat is crowned by the fact that defender Enrique Fornos (16 years, 253 days), who replaced Bicho at the end of the second half, is the youngest player in an official game of Depor since striker Alberto Iglesias in 1979 (16 & 175)

In order to find a younger starting team it’s necessary to go back to the year 1984. It was matchday 02 of the season 1984/85 and there was a big strike in Spain caused by the polemic law for the industrial reconversion. The footballers joined the strike and the matchday at Primera and Segunda played on September 9, 1984 was disputed with youngsters coming out from Juveniles.

Historic photo of the eleven Juvenile players at the Depor team that played in 1984 at the Riazor

Deportivo were playing at Segunda División and coach Arsenio Iglesias was preparing the league encounter against CD Tenerife (2-2). The lineup used in the game was:  Joaquín II – Juanito, Henry, Chechu, Suso -Ramón Calvo, Pozas (Chema 57’), Fisquelas – Pupi, Castreje (Fachal 87’), Andrés Ramos.

The average age of that team was 20.06 years. It’s four years younger compared to the team that Fernando Vázquez used on last week, but the circumstances were different as the strike was forcing to only use players coming from the Juvenil team .

The present times are also forcing the club to rely in the youngsters coming out from the youth teams, not precisely by a strike, but always for monetary reasons. It’s always encouraging for the fans to see the club promoting players from the academy, but also invites to ask if this youthness won’t end affecting the goal for the season, something that could have a larger impact in a so equal and long competition as the Segunda tournament. President Lendoiro and coach Fernando Vázquez already stated that there shouldn’t be pressure over the kids, because the responsibility should be over others’ shoulders.



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