Barcelona boss Xavi has revealed he played Eric Garcia in midfield after Jordi Cruyff urged him to try the defender in a knitting role last year… and said the staff were ‘testing’ him in training after he starred in their 4-0 win over Elche
- Barcelona coach Xavi credited Jordi Cruyff with Eric Garcia’s role in midfield
- Xavi revealed how his sporting director urged him to try Garcia in midfield
- Garcia starred in the midfield pivot in Barcelona’s dominant victory over Elche
Xavi credited Barcelona sporting director Jordi Cruyff with the idea of using Eric Garcia in midfield after the former Manchester City defender played a starring role in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Elche.
Barcelona shone in their midfield trio alongside Sergi Roberto and Javi as the LaLiga leaders built a 15-point lead at the top of the league table.
Garcia returned to Barcelona on a free transfer in 2021 after leaving the club where he spent his youth years.
His future at the Nou Camp was uncertain amid interest from Premier League leaders Arsenal, but the recent success of his deployment in midfield has received glowing reviews from Xavi.
“Eric’s idea was the idea of Jordi Cruyff, who told me last year that he had seen him in midfield,” Xavi said after his team’s recent victory.
Eric Garcia has received huge praise from his coach at Barcelona after recent impressive performances in midfield
Xavi (left) credits Barcelona sporting director Jordi Cruyff (right) with the idea of deploying Garcia in midfield.
We talked about it with the staff and tested it for two months.
We played the other day with the affiliate, and we could have a great pivot. He played a great game.”
Barcelona is trying to confirm replacements for veteran midfielder Sergio Busquets, who is expected to leave Spain at the end of the season once his contract expires.
Garcia (pictured) has fallen into Barcelona’s defensive hierarchy but may prefer a new role in midfield
Garcia may not be the most obvious choice for a replacement, but an impressive outing at the base of a three-man midfield pivot has given Xavi a fresh option.
The 22-year-old may have to rely on securing his future as a midfielder after largely falling behind in the defensive hierarchy with Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen, Jules Conde and Marcos Alonso all up front as centre-back options.
Meanwhile, midfielder Javi could leave the club in the summer as Barcelona face the prospect of having to tap top talent amid serious financial problems.
The 18-year-old lost his number 6 shirt and place in the first team after LaLiga suspended his new contract with the first team.