Vinicius Tobias, Alvaro Carrillo and Nico Paz all made their first respective starts for Real Madrid’s first team and I, for the first time, felt how a proud dad feels when his son makes the school football team.
I’m just here to analyse how the young boys played, whether we will see them start future games and what it means for their future at the club.
In short, one simple game cannot really mean a whole lot in terms of a player’s future at a club unless they’re either really good or really bad — neither was the case for any of the players. They were good. They were sort of in the middle, one below the rest, but they’re all very much in the middle. Advanced stats weren’t available, so this is solely from the eye test.
Nico Paz, who has played the most minutes by far out of not just these three players but any Castilla player this season, was also the worst one out of the lot against Arandina. He looked slow, he wasn’t good with his decision-making like he usually is, and he also looked out of ideas. His passing was off, too, which is rare. All of this is fine, by the way. At the end of the day, he is still very young, and he has still scored a Champions League game-winning goal for the club. He will be fine. He was OK, but it was just not the best night for the highly-rated Argentine. He will get plenty of chances in the future, I’m sure.
Alvaro Carrillo, although he did not have much to do, looked pretty solid in the minutes he did play. His first touches were good. He was wary of any danger coming his way. He finished the game with zero fouls, two tackles won, two interceptions, a successful cross, and some really sloppy passes. It wasn’t the worst and it certainly didn’t feel like he had made too many errors to count — the pitch didn’t help him either — but Carrillo’s passing was questionable, to say the least.
It applied to every Castilla starter against Arandina, as Vinicius Tobias wasn’t any different. Saying that, I was also impressed with him the most out of everyone. He was involved in many attacking sequences, combining with Arda Guler — another very good debutant — and Brahim Diaz. He used his pace to go up and cause problems, even though he wasn’t always successful. He left some space behind but used his pace to come back on defense. It was just a solid showing, and even though it was just a fourth-division team, I really think Vinicius Tobias, with a few more developments, could become a first-team player. He has all the tools he needs, and he is very young and has a lot of time to polish everything up. He’s also made some considerable improvements in decision-making, defending and crossing.
One thing that is worth talking about — going head-first into the future first-team prospects for these Castilla players — is how realistic everyone’s chances are of making the first team. Alvaro Carrillo is a solid centre-back for a La Liga team, but that La Liga team probably won’t be Real Madrid. Nico Paz is obviously talented, and so is Vinicius Tobias, but the only thing that Vinicius Tobias has and Nico Paz doesn’t is the matching of the timeline. We’re obviously getting ahead of ourselves here, but based on the assumption that Vinicius Tobias develops into the player everyone expects him to be, his timeline would match that of Dani Carvajal’s. Carvajal should be taking a backseat at some point, and Vinicius Tobias — unless Real Madrid sign a very good right-back — will have his chance when Carvajal does sit down, again, if he develops. That’s a big if.
With Nico Paz, as of now, I love him. I really do, but even if he becomes the player everyone thinks he will be, do I see a place for him in this team? It’s hard to tell. He is versatile, which gives him an advantage, but like Arribas, he occupies the most stacked positions in the club. Real Madrid have plenty of outstanding midfielders, and will sign forwards — one of them, Endrick, is on his way soon — in the future. Seeing Nico Paz play in the first team would be beautiful, but it is a bit more likely that he follows the Martin Odegaard route or even the Sergio Arribas / Take Kubo route. Time will tell, and I could be wrong — hopefully, I am — but the timelines have to match. Nico Paz is probably more talented than Vinicius Tobias, but talent is not enough. You also need a lot of luck to make it into the first team of the biggest club in the world. Yes, it is 100% too soon to tell, but what I have mentioned is definitely worth considering.