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Xavi explains Vitor Roque’s limited playing time for Barcelona

It has been two months since Vitor Roque’s arrival in Barcelona, and after a slow start the Brazilian exploded with two goals in two games before being hit with an unfortunate and undeserved suspension, and he’s played very few minutes since returning from that ban.

The young starter was the big signing from last summer and his arrival in January created tons of excitement, and while Roque has already displayed plenty of his talent and potential he hasn’t been able to earn much playing time at the start of his Barça career.

And according to his boss, that’s totally normal. Xavi Hernández was asked about Roque’s limited minutes in a press conference on Saturday, and the coach explained that has to do with the circumstances surrounding the player’s arrival as well as the natural competition within the squad.

“He came just after an injury, he had to get into the rhythm of the competition, the game, adapt to our system. Lewandowski plays as ‘9’ and in his natural position he has not played, or very little. He is adapting to the winger position. It’s a matter of time. He can give us many things and he is already giving them to us.”

I personally am glad Xavi and his coaching staff are following through on their promise to bring Roque up slowly and not ask too much of the youngster. The hype and expectation surrounding his signing was too big, and he would have struggled to keep up had he been given a big role right away.

But with Robert Lewandowski in great form and Xavi often opting for a four-midfielder system that limits the number of attackers on the team, Roque has had to wait for his chance and has certainly made the best out of the few opportunities he’s been given.

The first six months of Roque’s time at Barça should be a pure adaptation period, and he looks to be adapting pretty well. His role should grow over time, but right now the first phase of his development is happening as it should.

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