Valencia Academy – a look at the current and future stars

Gayá
After a fantastic start back in 14/15, Gayá have had some more trouble after that, despite being first choice throughout. Injuries and lack of consistent playing time will have been main reasons behind that. Now it is a make or break year for the lad who is not short of internal competition.

Carlos Soler
Established himself in the team after Voro put faith in him when the team and midfield was failing. He brings dynamism, movement, arrives well in the box, while at the same time he is an assured passer. Marcelino looks to use him to the left in his 4-4-2 where he is the current first choice and can use his runs to create space for Gayá behind him, and surely contribute with some goals.

Lato
Worried about Gayá? Well, worry no more, said Lato and stepped up to the task of playing for the first team as if he had never done anything else. From the same school as Gayá, he offers those powerful forward runs and brings goal from the left side. He also shares Gayá’s pace and…is he slightly better defensively?

Nacho Vidal
Something more rare is a Valencia Mestalla product who is a right back. Few such have made an impact on top flight football. Nacho, however, looks like a right sided Lato with many of the same virtues. Assured defensively and an attacking menace. Just the way Marcelino likes it….

Nacho Gil
Sometimes a player comes along where you see genius in their actions. Like David Silva before him, Nacho Gil looks to have this ability. Not unsimilar to his brother, he does however look more dynamic and paced than Carles. It is early days, but a thoroughly impressing campaign with Mestalla last season has definitely ignited hope that we might just have something very special at our disposal.

Javi Jiménez
Raúl Albiol was the last central defender to make it from Mestalla and establish himself as a starter. He is now almost 32, showcasing how rare such a happening is for some reason. Javi Jiménez looks set to become the next one, despite the worst debut you could fear last season. Marcelino will rotate him between first team and Mestalla to make sure his progress is not halted.

Nando
Having spent several seasons on loan to Córdoba and last Oviedo, the right winger never really made the break. Got 32 matches for Oviedo, but 19 of them as a substitute. The once «next big thing» who was linked to Barcelona & Real Madrid, now has stated a claim during preseason for a place in Marcelino’s squad. Uncertain whether it will be heard in the end.

Robert
It´s been some rough seasons for Robert who spent most of the time on loan at Granada, failing to cement a starting place, in part due to injuries. Started only 20 matches across the last 3 seasons, and was subbed off in most of them. Coming off an ACL injury he is likely to be a part of the squad, but unlikely to get much time.

Sito & Eugeni
Both coming off impressive seasons for Mestalla and were in contention for a place in the first team squad. The club and Marcelino did however end up deciding they’d be better off with Curro Torres at Lorca in Segunda, where they will play important roles.

Antonio Sivera
The promising goalkeeper was sold, but Valencia maintain a very accessible option to buy back, should he topple Pacheco and establish himself at the level we hope he will.

Rafa Mir
The Mendes advised youngster has decided his Valencia stay is to end after not doing enough to convince Marcelino in preseason.

Alex Centelles
If there wasn’t already Gayá and Lato, there is a pretty good chance Centelles would be a part of the first team squad. He is the next big left back thing and has looked impressive over the last season and this preseason. Exciting prospect.

Salva Ruíz
Returning from failed loans, injuries and sickness, the left back who was regarded a bigger talent than Gayá, will now try to restart his career at Mestalla.

Fran Villalba
After a rough setback as he wandered between 4 teams two years ago, Valencia have decided to bring stability to the youngsters everyday. He will now focus on Mestalla and try to establish himself as a starter. Probably expectations grew faster than the boy who still lacks some physical presence to go with his technical abilities.

Carlos Badal
Newly promoted to Mestalla, this youth international is another central defender who looks very interesting. He is likely to get some matches alongside either Zotko or Moragues who are expected to be the starting pair.

Ferrán Torres
Yet another youth international, a winger. Note the name because this player is really, really interesting. As Badal he has newly traded the juveniles for Mestalla, but looks closer to challenge for a starting spot. Marcelino can’t stop being impressed by the young winger.

Kangin Lee
We have heard his name for years, and the way he is going we will continue to do so for more. At 16, the South Korean has just dazzled the COTIF tournament for 19-20 year olds, being named the most valuable player of the tournament. A true #10 he is both a playmaker and a goalscorer. We cannot wait to see his progress!

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