Barcelona: is teenager Pedri ready for Spain selection?
Spain boss Luis Enrique has a number of options in attacking midfield - could Barcelona youngster Pedri be added to the list ahead of Euro 2020?
Things are moving very quickly indeed for Pedri González.
This time last year he was 17 years old and preparing for a Copa del Rey clash against Badajoz with Las Palmas, now he is playing for Barcelona and his coach is fielding questions about the possibility of him representing Spain at the delayed Euro 2020.
Calls for him to be considered by Luis Enrique intensified after he produced a fine display in Barça's 3-2 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday, becoming the youngest player in LaLiga history to score and assist in a single game.
At 18 years and 42 days old he headed in an equaliser after Iñaki Williams' opener at San Mamés and then produced a lovely backheel that Messi steered home to put the Blaugrana on the path to a 3-2 win.
Asked on Friday if Pedri is deserving of a first call-up to the senior Spain squad, Barça boss Ronald Koeman said: "It's not my decision.
"We can say a lot of positive things about Pedri's career so far. Nobody expected a boy of his age to play almost every game. He deserves it.
"It seems like he's been at the club for years, but young players always have ups and downs, you have to see how he continues to evolve, but I have no doubts that he will continue to improve.
"He has to show this level for a longer time, but you don't have to rush."
But how does Pedri stack up against the other options available to Luis Enrique?
A FINE PLAYMAKER
Among Spanish midfielders and attackers playing in the top five European leagues to have featured in at least 10 games in all competitions this season, Pedri ranks sixth in terms of chances created with 26 – 11 shy of Iago Aspas at the top of the list.
Only Isco (31.4) and Cesc Fàbregas (30.9) have attempted more passes ending in the final third per 90 minutes than Pedri (30.6), though the Barça star averages more successful ones (24.6) than Fàbregas (21.2). Isco leads the way with 25.6 successful passes ending in the final third each game.
AT THE HEART OF THINGS
When looking at the performances of Spanish midfielders in the top five European leagues, only Napoli's Fabián Ruiz (93) has been involved in more unique open play sequences ending with a shot than Pedri (79). Nine of the sequences featuring Pedri have ended in a goal, a tally that only Denis Suárez (10) and Marcos Llorente (13) can better.
The overall expected goals value of the open play sequences ending with a shot or goal that Pedri has been involved in is 10.5, putting him top of the list. It means that not only is the 18-year-old involved in a many passages of play compared to his contemporaries, he is involved in dangerous ones.
Pedri has initiated 16 open play sequences that ended with a shot this season, enough for joint-fourth alongside Dani Parejo. Rodri is top on 22 but his role at Manchester City means he is relied upon to regain possession and start moves from there. Barça would not expect breaking up the opposition's play to be a huge part of Pedri's game, but he is still able to get them moving forward.
Of the shot-ending sequences in open play that Pedri has been involved in, he created the chance and was also involved in the build-up on eight occasions. Luis Alberto (9) of Lazio is the only player with more multi chance involvements.
Spain have an abundance of attacking midfield options, but Pedri is already showing a level of involvement in Barça's build-up play that must surely put him in Luis Enrique's thinking. He has also proved versatile, with Koeman using him out wide, behind the striker and also in a deeper midfield role at times this season. Regardless of where he plays, Pedri is regularly involved in sequences that lead to goalscoring opportunities and looks set to continue doing so for years to come.
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