Marc Bartra: Graduate with honours

“I’ve been promoted to the first team from the academy at a semi-pro club. As a young player, how can I establish myself in the team?”

Adam Fieldhouse, via Facebook


Marc Bartra says:

“Patience is really important, at a big club especially. It’s impossible to make it if you’re not patient. 


You may think you’re ready to play at 18 or 19 because you’re training with the first team and doing well, but you still have a lot to learn. 


Do the basics right: work hard, be punctual, listen, look after your body. Train to the very best of your ability every day. It’s a good habit.   


You should speak to senior players – it’d be stupid not to. I spoke a lot with [Carles] Puyol. I still do, even though he’s not at the club. He gave me tactical and positioning advice, teaching me that the priority for any defender is to defend his space. 


I’ve played with some of the best: – Puyol, [Gerard] Pique, [Rafael] Marquez, [Javier] Mascherano, [Jeremy] Mathieu – and each has different qualities: Marquez with his vision, Pique and Mascherano with the ball, Mathieu in the air. I watched how Puyol concentrated for 90 minutes, even if the team were leading, and how he led on the field; what he shouted and when.


Take it from me: you can always learn from senior players.”

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Andy Mitten
Editor at Large

Andy Mitten is Editor at Large of FourFourTwo, interviewing the likes of Lionel Messi, Eric Cantona, Sir Alex Ferguson and Diego Maradona for the magazine. He also founded and is editor of United We Stand, the Manchester United fanzine, and contributes to a number of publications, including GQ, the BBC and The Athletic.