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Malcom proves his worth again to Barcelona

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The Brazilian was electric after coming on against Espanyol

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid - Copa del Rey Semi Final Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

That saying has been applied so many times to Lionel Messi we’ve lost count, and though the Argentinian was the headline grabber again on Saturday, substitute Malcom has to get a decent share of the praise on offer.

Barca were lethargic for the most part against Espanyol. Not exactly devoid of ideas, but without the energy to execute them.

Cue the young Brazilian.

Coming on for countryman, Arthur, we saw a player once again taking the chance afforded to him with both hands. In a 30-minute cameo he was sensational.

In some quarters, Blaugranes are already shipping him off to the Premier League, Serie A or back to Ligue 1.

I have one question. Why?

Here’s a youngster with the majority of his career ahead of him, who is still learning the trade and, most importantly, hasn’t been given too much of a look-in so far this season.

When he has, he’s proved beyond doubt that he has what it takes to flourish long-term in this team. All he needs is minutes - consistently.

I don’t really want to get into the Philippe Coutinho debate, but for the purposes of the argument, the former Liverpool man has been given chance after chance after chance to prove himself, and by and large he hasn’t done that.

Malcom, by contrast, has been a spark almost every time he’s come on, and his contribution has often been game-changing (see Inter, Real Madrid and now Espanyol as a start point).

Make no mistake, if the derby wasn’t quite getting away from Barca, they were making heavy weather of it, and, frankly, didn’t look like scoring.

Malcom’s introduction made all the difference.

Those darting runs in behind, a turn of pace that defenders hate, little give and goes... he was always available, and would’ve had another assist to Luis Suarez if he could’ve just wrapped his foot around the ball a little more.

With some extra maturity to his game, and a broader understanding of the Barca style, there’s no reason why Malcom can’t be a valuable member of the squad for many seasons to come.

I see no value in putting a price on him, as that only encourages potential bids. If he’s sold, then what? What would the club actually gain by moving him on for a like-for-like replacement?

Genuine pace is a nightmare for defenders, and there is already the genesis of a reasonable partnership with Jordi Alba down the left hand side.

If he’s allowed time to develop further, there’ll be a fair few made to eat their words.