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SPORTING - REAL MADRID

Sporting put faith in youth for return to top flight

Sporting put faith in youth for return to top flight

El Molinón squad is the youngest in the division at an average age of 23.5. The majority of players have come through the ranks.

Real Madrid make their Liga debut on Sunday against the youngest side in the 2015-16 Primera División. During the last year, Sporting have place their faith in the essence of their previous incarnations; the cantera of the Mareo Football School.

The average age of Abelardo Fernández's squad is just under 23.5 years old. The Sporting manager, who made his professional debut aged 19, has shown confidence in the club's youngsters and above all those who came through the ranks at Mareo. In the current squad there are 15 players who have reached the senior side via the youth system, with a further six having signed for Sporting B and made the step-up from there (Alberto Lora, Luis Hernández, Guitián, Rachid, Jony and Miguel Guerrero). Another nine joined Sporting at an earlier age and played in the junior divisions: Roberto Canella, Álex Menéndez, Meré, Sergio Álvarez, Juan Muñiz, Alex Barrera, Nacho Cases, Pablo Pérez and Carlos Castro. Of those, Canella, Muñiz and Meré have all won European titles with junior Spain national teams.

Sporting's youthful squad has also been bolstered by players from Spain's elite, such as Luis Hernández, Mandi, Lora and Omar Mascarell from Real Madrid. The latter joined Sporting this summer from Castilla but will not be eligible to play on Sunday due to a clause in his contract. Abelardo also has two La Masía-schooled players at his disposal in Carlos Carmona and the recently signed Alen Halilovic.

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