Back in March, Marcus McGuane became the first Englishman to play for Barcelona since Gary Lineker back in 1989.
The 19-year-old, who joined the Camp Nou outfit from Arsenal at the start of the year, was one of 12 players called up from Barça B by Ernesto Valverde for the Catalan Super Cup final against Espanyol.
Named on the substitutes’ bench against Espanyol, Valverde handed McGuane his debut in the second half.
"It was a massive experience for me and my family," McGuane told the club's official website after replacing Aleix Vidal.
"Words can't really describe how it felt walking out there. But it felt really good. When the coach told me I'm coming on I thought just be calm and play my game and show what I can do."
McGuane did not appear for Barça’s first team again during the remainder of the 2017-18 campaign - although that was not a surprise to anybody, including the player himself.
This was a one-off game where most of Barça’s first-team regulars were given the night off.
He did, however, train with the first-team in August. Photographs emerged of McGuane training alongside Lionel Messi - surely the only Englishman ever to boast that particular honour.
McGuane's Barça spell has taken a worrying turn
However, the Daily Mail’s Matt Barlow has posted an update about McGuane’s progress and it turns out things have taken a turn for the worse for the teenager.
McGuane, who signed a three-year contract with a £21.9 million release clause when he joined the Catalan giants, is now playing in the third tier of Spanish football after Barça B were relegated last season.
Unlike the second tier, which features a few of Spain’s big-name clubs and crowds of up to 15,000, the third tier is made of up four regional groups and attracts far fewer spectators.
They played in front of just 1,2000 people in their first home game and were beaten 1-0 by SD Ejea.
To make matters worse for McGuane, he was an unused substitute - just as he had been the previous week when Barça B lost their first away game of the season.
Team captain Ferran Sarsanedas, highly-rated Riqui Puig, dubbed ‘the next Andres Iniesta’, and Alex Collado are all ahead of fellow central midfielder McGuane in the pecking order.
Barlow adds that even if McGuane forces his way back into the starting line-up, “it will be at a level that is hardly conducive to the development of young talents”.
Why? Well, because Spain’s third tier is between England’s League One and Two in terms of quality and teams at that level are keen to use their physicality to get one over Barcelona’s young guns.
The Catalan press have published articles about Puig needing protection after being ‘kicked up in the air’ during the opening two matches and there are fears McGuane will receive the same treatment.
But first, he has to somehow force his way back into the team’s starting XI.
Let’s hope the lad’s fortunes take a turn for the better over the coming months.News Now - Sport News