Placeholder canvas
The best academy in Spain
The best academy in Spain

A total of 24 academy players have been called up to the Villarreal first team at some point

Villarreal B successfully secured their survival in LaLiga SmartBank just over a week ago thanks to a hard-fought draw in Gran Canaria, meaning they will continue to be the only B team (depending on who is promoted from the Primera RFEF division) in Spanish football’s top flight for another season.

However, beyond this impressive feat, the success of the Yellows Academy lies in the number of players who stand out in the first team after training at Miralcamp. Pau Torres, Álex Baena, Yeremy Pino, Jackson, Chukwueze, Manu Trigueros, Alfonso Pedraza or Filip Jorgensen are some of the stars of the first team who played so many training matches at the José Manuel Llaneza Training Ground.

And of all the youngsters competing in the main youth teams this season (B, Villarreal C and Juvenil A), a total of 24 players have been linked with the first team at some point. Up to seven of them have made their debut in an official match for the Submarine this season. Mbacke, Del Moral, Diego Collado, Haissem and Jorge Pascual have achieved the dream of every child who starts kicking a ball, as well as Terrats, who arrived to reinforce the B team and ended up fully involved with the first team. Filip Jorgensen has also been working under Quique Setién during the course of the season.

In addition, other Mini Submarino players such as Migue Leal, Carlo Adriano, Dela and Tasende previously made their debuts for the first team, and some of them have come up again on occasion during the current campaign. Pacheco and Iker Álvarez have also been called up, but without the good fortune of getting official minutes. Likewise, Fer Niño, Ontiveros and Pablo Iñiguez did the same a few seasons ago and are now part of the B team.

On the other hand, the tours of Turkey and Italy and England during the winter break saw the debuts of other youngsters. Dela, Collado, Gianni, Iosifov and Carlos Romero from the B team accompanied the first team, but so did two players from the C team and a youth player. They were Jorge Pascual, the only one to have played official minutes (against Anderlecht in the Europa Conference League); Marcos Sánchez, the future ‘xiquet del poble’; and the promising Colombian Luis Quintero.

But not all the debuts of youth players in professional football are in the first team. Villarreal B’s promotion to LaLiga SmartBank gave many of them the opportunity to test themselves against big-name opponents. Thiago Ojeda, Hugo Pérez and Abraham have worked constantly under Miguel Álvarez during the season while competing more regularly in Tercera RFEF with Jandro Castro’s side.

In addition, the Villarreal B coaching staff has also called up goalkeeper Rubén Gómez and outfield players Fran Tafalla, Dani Clavijo, Jordi Ortega, Dani Requena and Álex Jiménez on a number of occasions, giving them the chance to experience their first elite level football.