The first international break of the season is a real disrupter for all sorts of reasons, but it does give every player a chance to further dust off the cobwebs as they ease into the season.
Barca haven’t had the best of starts, and a lot more was expected of Frenkie de Jong, however, there have been mitigating circumstances for the Dutchman.
For a start, he’s not been played in his rightful position under Ernesto Valverde thus far. Like many other players have found to their cost over the past few seasons, De Jong is being shoe-horned into the side to allow others a role.
In the very simplest of terms, there are too many midfielders for positions available, and players like Sergio Busquets are still commanding a starting spot.
Dare I say it, perhaps that’s something that needs to be addressed.
De Jong can't have the exact same role as with the Netherlands because we have Busquets. Having said that Valverde is a fool for playing him as some kinda 8/winger to the left.— Guardiolista (@LaComputadora14) September 6, 2019
He looked good at RCM in the 2nd half againt Osasuna and I think and hope that's where he'll play now
Not hating on Busi at all, far from it, but he’s getting no younger and with one eye on the future, surely it’s more beneficial for both club and player to rest and rotate him as often as opponents will allow?
It also hands Valverde the opportunity to play Frenkie in his best role, and one would assume, get the best out of him as a result.
Of course, there’s plenty of time for De Jong to be able to force his way into the team in his rightful position.
But it bodes the question as to why the club were intent on paying so much money for his services and were so desperate to bring him on board if the intention was to station him somewhere on the pitch where he can’t showcase his full range of skills.
| Frenkie de Jong highlights vs Germany, 06/09/2019.— Frenkie Chief (@FrenkieStats) September 6, 2019
Another Frenkie masterclass with Netherlands. He scored his first goal with the team and many more to come! A midfielder that every team wishes to have, if only our coach knew how to use him properly. pic.twitter.com/NhVMtT8B3t
Have Valverde’s hands been tied behind his back to a certain extent?
He is having to juggle an awful lot of balls in the air at the moment, and with Rakitic not leaving but unhappy about being left on the bench, there’s another issue incoming.
Valverde could make his life so much easier by allowing the youngsters to blossom though.
It would take a brave coach to do it, and Ernesto hasn’t shown himself to be that in the past, but after the start the team have had, what does he have to lose?
Frenkie showed beyond doubt in the Champions League with Ajax last season that he enjoys the responsibility.
So give it to him.
Watch the way he ran the show against Germany and then tell me why he can’t be given free reign in his natural position where he will be most effective...