Barcelona is preparing to face domestic rivals Atletico Madrid at the UWCL quarter-final on 21st August in San Sebastián. Despite not signing a new exclusive player, the squad didn’t lack depth and quality until the injuries of Marta Torrejón and Ana-Maria Crnogorčević. The right-back position is vacant, and it calls for Barca’s youngster Jana Fernández, who has flown under the raider due to her age and lack of experience with the first team.
La Masia and Spain’s Youth Star:
Jana Fernández joined Barca’s youth system in 2014, a few years later she was a regular full-back for the B team by 2017. Her growth extended to international football; she made her debut in 2017 at the age of 15 for Spain u-17. She continued her stride, with Barca and Spain. She won the 2018 u-17 Euro Championship, and along with Barca teammate Claudia Pina, she won the first-ever Spanish youth World Cup, Uruguay 2018. Barca’s senior team called her for 2018 Copa Catalunya, her first senior trophy. And she made her official debut vs Madrid CFF in the league with two assists.
Jana Fernández, Barca’s Solution for Defensive Shortcomings
Fernández signed her first professional contract with the club in 2020 until 2023; she is ought to distribute her time and services between B and the senior team. Jana was not expected to enter the scene so early. Laia Codina, Barca B’s captain and CB is promoted exclusively to the first team; however, she isn’t a natural full-back hence the responsibility to cover the RB falls on the 18-year-old’s shoulders.
“We must continue working and continue learning. I take it with great enthusiasm. I hope we achieve many successes that we fight for everything and that we are very lucky.”
– Jana Fernández
Barca is betting on their youth, unlike before we’re seeing many B team players being promoted to the first team. Codina to Barca, Carla Armengol and Claudia Pina on loan to Sevilla and Candela Andújar on loan to Valencia. The current senior squad has La Masia products as well such as Aitana Bonmati, Leila Ouahabi, Vicky Losada and Melanie Serrano. The aim for La Masia talent is to reach Barca’s senior team eventually, and Barca also doesn’t want to lose young talent as they have with Ona Batlle and Berta Pujadas.
Barca’s starting RB Marta Torrejón and backup Crnogorčević got injured during the intense training sessions in Vall d’en Bas. The club has not given any estimated recovery period, but there are expectations that they will be ready for UWCL. However, to be on the safe side, Jana is called of duty. Barca played their first pre-season friendly match vs Montpellier on 2nd August, a comfortable 3-0 victory and Fernandez played 77′ as a right back.
— CAMP🏆🏆🏆ONES (@FCBfemeni) August 2, 2020
Fernández as a Player:
Jana is a natural full-back; she occupies the RB position for Barca B and Spain. She stands out due to her notable performances. Her pace, intensity, technical ability, and drive to cover as much ground as possible make it difficult to not pay attention to her. As a defender, she doesn’t shy away from putting her body on the line; she will go for a timed tackle even if the odds aren’t in her favour.
Another quality that adds to her talent is versatility and attack-minded style; she is often seen in an advanced position on the pitch. This allows her to connect very well with wingers; she successfully gets the ball in the final third with her passes and crosses.
Jana understands Barca’s style like no other; the success of the team is highly credited to the cohesive unity and connection among the players who are aware of each other and their system. Jana displayed glimpses of that with the senior team vs Montpellier, fulfilling her defensive duties and formulating a connection with the forwards to build an attack from the back, a skill Barca defenders excel.
Jana doesn’t stick to defense or assists, she has scored some remarkable goals showcasing her quality in front of the net. She is free to cut inside or attack from the flanks, her versatility has made her an all-round threat.
— btv esports (@btvesports) April 21, 2019
Jana revealed that club captain, Alexia Putellas is her idol.
“I felt emotion. I have always been very cool, when I was little I would see Alexia and the others play, and I was very excited, and of course, to take the first step in a country like the USA with all my idols because …. crazy, of course, a dream fulfilled. Being trained next to Alexia Putellas or Mapi impacts you.”
– Jana Fernández
Jana Fernández is due to get more experience with the first team in the upcoming season. However, she might have to provide her services a little earlier at UWCL in weeks time. Even if Torrejón and Crnogorčević are recovered, she will be anticipating some minutes from the bench as a substitute. The biggest stage of football is set, and despite her young age and lack of experience, Jana is the right answer to Barca’s defensive depth and injury crisis.