Ousmane Dembele may have sidestepped his lengthy injury lay off if he had the "experience" necessary to recognize the possible problem, his manager says.
Ousmane Dembele may have sidestepped his lengthy injury lay off if he had the "experience" necessary to recognise the possible problem.
That is according to Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde, who told Marca that the club's all-time record signing may have prevented himself from sustaining the injury if he had suffered a similar issue at some other point in his career.
Dembele will miss the next four months of the season after he tore the femoral bicep tendon in his left thigh, and Valverde lamented the loss of the wonderkid forward by insinuating that a more experienced professional would have spotted the danger signs earlier.
He said: "I don't think there is a way around this [injury]. It's clear that he is a player who has never had a muscular problem and doesn't have the experience to recognise the small disturbances.
"An experienced player may have not made the move that [Dembele] made."
Footage obtained by Mundo Deportivo, ahead of Barcelona's victory over Getafe, appeared to show that Dembele was feeling a slight pull in his leg during the warm-up session before his side's 2-1 win.
It was only Dembele's third appearance for La Blaugrana following his £135.5m switch from Borussia Dortmund, but he will now not feature until mid-January at the very earliest.
The France international successfully underwent surgery on the ruptured ligament in Finland on Monday and, while Valverde stated that he had plenty of options to replace Dembele in his team, backed the youngster to use this set back to make him a stronger footballer.
He added: "The hardest thing for a player when he gets hurt is that he has to be patient, to work alone and check the progress little by little.
"He is a young player and this is a difficulty he will find throughout his career. You never want to get there but we have all had muscular problems and knee injuries.
"We have several players in the team who can play in his position. [Gerard] Deulofeu, Aleix Vidal, Denis [Suarez], Andre Gomes are some of them and we will look for alternatives in the reserve team to try to form a starting line-up."