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Barcelona could hand first-team debuts to multiple La Masia prospects vs Royal Antwerp



Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images for DFB

Barcelona take on Royal Antwerp in Belgium tomorrow night in their final UEFA Champions League group stages.

With the Catalans already securing qualification for the knockout stages and all but guaranteed a top spot in the group, the match is merely a dead rubber.

As such, manager Xavi Hernandez expected to make a whole host of rotations to his starting lineup on Wednesday night so that he can rest some of his first-team regulars.

Several La Masia talents could debut

Barcelona’s squad list for the trip to Belgium consists of as many as ten players from the youth and reserve ranks, although Lamine Yamal and Fermin Lopez are pretty much considered permanent first-team members at this point.

Even then, there are eight young talents from the youth ranks in the squad and if a report from SPORT is to be believed a number of them could be in line to make their senior debut tomorrow for Barcelona against Royal Antwerp.

One such player who looks likely to make his debut is young defender Pau Cubarsi. With Xavi likely to rest Ronald Araujo and Inigo Martinez ruled out with injury, there is a very good chance that the teenage centre-half sees some first-team minutes tomorrow.

Another young prospect who might be in line for his debut is Hector Fort. The teenage right-back has been impressing with Barça Atletic this term and with Joao Cancelo in need of a rest, there may be a chance that the La Masia ace gets some minutes.

Goalkeeping conundrum

Ander Astralaga to make his debut? (Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Xavi also has a major decision to make with regard to his goalkeeping options for Wednesday night.

With Ter Stegen out until next year, Inaki Pena is now the first-choice and any unfortunate injury to him could spell trouble for the Catalans.

So, there may be a possibility that Barcelona opt to rest the 24-year-old tomorrow against Antwerp and hand a first-team debut to backup goalkeeper Ander Astralaga, who has been in and around the senior squad this season.

Meanwhile, there is a chance that other La Masia prospects like Marc Casado, Marc Guiu, and Angel Alarcon also get some minutes.

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