Barcelona hero's surprise Ronald Koeman verdict ahead of El Clasico clash vs Real Madrid

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Barcelona legend Albert Ferrer has somewhat surprisingly lauded manager Ronald Koeman for the job he is doing in Catalonia – and believes the Dutchman is the perfect figure to help nurture the young talent which is blossoming at the club.

Koeman’s future has been the source of almost constant speculation of late following Barca’s disappointing start to the season, although some of that pressure has temporarily eased following two consecutive victories over Valencia and Dinamo Kiev in the last week.

Nevertheless, Sunday’s match against bitter rivals Real Madrid at the Nou Camp in a huge one, and defeat would see the Dutchman under scrutiny once more.

Speaking exclusively to Mirror Football , La Liga TV pundit Ferrer urged onlookers to have faith in Koeman – and thinks he deserves more credit for the work he has done so far under difficult circumstances.

Barcelona hero's surprise Ronald Koeman verdict ahead of El Clasico clash vs Real Madrid
© REUTERS Ronald Koeman has received praise from Albert Ferrer despite coming under pressure at Barcelona

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“I think he’s doing pretty well,” Ferrer said when asked about the Barca coach. “The things going on behind the scenes at a club always affect the players and the manager. He arrived at a difficult moment and did well last season.

“Thinking about the future, you really need a manager who believes in young talent. He was with Johan Cruyff when they came through the academy together and also went through the Ajax school which relies on young talent. So I think it’s great to have him.

” Barcelona are still looking for the perfect system and the perfect fit, but I think that’s pretty normal given the circumstances. He’s doing a good job.”

Ferrer insists there are better days ahead for his old team, and pointed towards three upcoming stars in particular who he thinks can inspire the side going forward.

“Seventeen-year-old midfielder Gavi is a very interesting prospect,” he continued. “I think going forward Pedri will be the new Xavi and Gavi the new Andres Iniesta.

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“They are both midfielders but Gavi is a little more direct, he gets into the box more often, so he’s a bit more offensive. These two players are making a big impact.

“Pedri obviously burst onto the scene last season but Gavi is really something unbelievable, even playing for the national team. I think he has surprised everybody.

Barcelona hero's surprise Ronald Koeman verdict ahead of El Clasico clash vs Real Madrid
© GETTY Albert Ferrer is now a pundit for La Liga TV

“It’s also very important Barcelona get Frenkie De Jong in the side. These are the three players I like most.”

Ferrer will line up alongside Gary Lineker and former Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest and Birmingham boss Aitor Karanka as part of La Liga TV’s coverage of El Clasico on Sunday.

And he is clearly excited about the occasion, adding: “It’s the first time I’ll work with Lineker and I’m sure we’ll get on fantastically.

“He’s a great professional, of course he played for Barcelona so there is a link between us, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Watch ElClásico on LaLigaTV this Sunday. Coverage begins from 1pm with Gary Lineker hosting LIVE from the Camp Nou alongside Aitor Karanka and Albert Ferrer. Sign up to LaLigaTV with Premier Sports on Sky 435 / Virgin 554 or via streaming with Premier Player and Amazon Prime Video Channels.

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