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One To Watch: Barca teen Lamine off to dream start
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Dan Fitch
Lamine Yamal is already proving to be productive for Barcelona
Lamine Yamal is already proving to be productive for Barcelona

Lamine Yamal is the latest Barcelona boy wonder to come off La Masia's conveyor belt.

He started in the 4-3 win at Villarreal on Sunday, becoming the youngest player to provide an assist in a LaLiga fixture at just 16 years and 45 days. 

Ahead of Barca's weekend trip to Osasuna, we put the winger under the spotlight. 

Xavi praise

Yamal's display against the Yellow Submarine earned high praise from Barcelona manager Xavi after the game. 

He said: "He is extraordinary. He is surprising us all and continuing to grow. 

"The growth he showed today was impressive. He was given the start because we believe he is capable of making a difference. 

"He is very humble, he works hard and he likes football. He is smart, and he makes good decisions. 

"Lamine Yamal's decision making is almost always correct and right. That's surprising for someone who just turned 16 years old. 

"I hope he will be here for many years at Barca because I think he is a player who can define an era, but let's take it easy." 

Record breaker

Lamine Yamal enjoys creating chances from the right wing
Lamine Yamal enjoys creating chances from the right wing

Though Xavi was clearly trying to keep the pressure off Yamal, he was somewhat betrayed by his own enthusiasm for the youngster. 

Any effort to avert the media spotlight from the forward is equally doomed should he be able to retain his place in the Barcelona team. 

While talented teenagers can often make the breakthrough at even the biggest clubs, they are rarely quite so tender-aged as Yamal. 

When he made his debut for the Catalan giants last season, he was just 15 years, nine months and 16 days old, becoming the youngest player to ever appear for Barca. 

It is surely only a matter of time before he breaks Ansu Fati's record to become Barca's youngest goalscorer, with the current standard set at 16 years and 10 months. 

If he can establish himself in Xavi's team this season, stardom is unavoidable for Yamal, particularly as he plays in the same position as Barcelona legend Lionel Messi. 

Youthful confidence

Lamine Yamal is Barcelona's youngest ever player
Lamine Yamal is Barcelona's youngest ever player

Yamal can play across the frontline and as an attacking midfielder but the left-footed ace's preferred position is on the right wing. 

The sale of Ousmane Dembele and the suspension of Raphinha have cleared a pathway for him in that role and he has kept Ferran Torres on the bench. 

Adept at cutting into central areas from the right, his pace and dribbling ability could make him a major weapon for Barcelona for years to come. 

Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to youth development and the club only have to look towards Fati as an example of how expected progress can be derailed. 

They will need to manage his playing time but with Barcelona competing in the Champions League, alongside defending their LaLiga title, there should be plenty of opportunities. 

Yamal's comments after his contribution against Villarreal revealed a confidence that bodes well for his future. 

He said: "Luckily, I don't get scared. I try to forget about that and play football, which is what I'm good at."

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