Barcelona: Wague, more than a full-back
The 20-year-old even played a few games with the first team towards the end of the season, once the title had been wrapped up in LaLiga Santander, and he did enough to catch the eye of the Blaugrana‘s hierarchy.
Jordi Condom, a Catalan coach, had Wague under his stewardship at Eupen, though they coincided prior to that, and he argues that he can not only play at right-back but that he was a right winger when he was younger, hence his ability going forward.
“I had him in 2012 at the Football Dreams of Africa [camp] in a squad that was made up of players from the continent and also some from South America, Thailand and Vietnam,” explained Condom.
“There were about 32 players and I was given the opportunity to coach for a month in Qatar. There they played a friendly against Barcelona, the Qatari national team… He was 14 there.
“They had chosen him as a winger, hence his attacking skillset. Then I told him that I saw him as a player who could dominate the entirety of the right-hand side of the pitch, more of a 2 [right-back] than a 7 [right winger].”
The two would then meet again at Eupen years later and Condom reveals that he had the confidence to put Wague in the first team, despite his young age.
“He is an attacking footballer,” Condom noted.
“At the age of 18, we put him in the first team and he was able to play against big teams like Anderlecht. He gained experience and was patient.
“The [Senegalese] national team later called him up for the World Cup [in Russia in 2018], where he scored a goal [against Japan].”
In his talk with MARCA, Condom discussed Wague‘s characteristics.
“He can cover a lot of ground, he arrives [onto the play] with ease and he can run many kilometres in a game,” he added.
“He can adapt well to the style, with space in front of him and areas to run in to.
“He can play as a winger, but he has improved and grown in this position [right-back]. He’s adapted.
“There’s much more to be done because some defensive aspects need to be worked on. He is a very young player who still has a long way to go to improve this aspect.”