More to come from the Cantera

A look at some of the players we may see wearing the red & white shirt in coming years

N'Doye, Roberto, Pedro and Noguera  (

N'Doye, Roberto, Pedro and Noguera

There is always a feeling of great pride when a player rises from the youth ranks up into the first team, and in the last few seasons we’ve seen Koke, Domínguez, Rubén Pérez, De Gea, Joel and Camacho do just that.

Which of our up and coming talents could be next to debut at the Vicente Calderón?

At the end of last season, Alberto Noguera and Jorge Pulido were drafted into the first team by Quique Flores, with the latter especially making a good impression. Also on the bench we saw Borja, who is now getting a chance to play regular football in the second division with Murcia.

Noguera continues to play with the B-team and is arguably the star player, but there are many others who will surely be on the radar of Gregorio Manzano at this moment in time.

For the reserve side, a player who has really shone in the last year is defensive midfielder Fer. The 22-year-old is currently recovering from injury, but his commanding performances, intelligent positioning and range of passing have earned plenty of plaudits in recent months.

Last season the name on many fans lips was that of Sergio Marcos, another midfielder with excellent technique and playmaking abilities. However, he has been inexplicably restricted to a squad player’s role by Milinko Pantic this year, but certainly has the talent to play higher than the Segunda B in the future.

Our C-team is also home to some promising players, and two who were promoted to Atléti B in the summer, Pedro Martín and Sergio Cidoncha, have been among the best performers so far in the current campaign.

19-year-old Pedro has already caught the eye of Manzano, scoring six times in pre-season and even making the bench for both of the first-team’s Europa League qualifiers against Strømsgodset. At the moment he is the B-team’s joint top-scorer with three goals.

Cidoncha, on the other hand, is a central midfielder and set-piece specialist. He is seen as a ‘todocampista’ (all-round midfielder), with notable passing ability and tireless work rate.

However, the biggest hope from Pantic’s side is Saúl Ñíguez. He may only be 16, but this is his second season with the reserves, and he now seems to have established himself as a regular starter.

An international at Under-17 level, Saúl has great versatility and is capable of playing in midfield, on the wing or as a striker. He possesses phenomenal technique and vision, as well as useful physical attributes and balance on the ball.

Other players that may be worth keeping an eye on are teenage wingers Iván Sánchez and Momar N’Doye, 18 year-old youth team graduate Borja Galán, and striker José Collado.

Looking past Atleti B, there are a number of players throughout our various youth ranks that could have the potential to play at the highest level one day.

Right-back Javi Manquillo trained with the first team in pre-season and like Saúl has represented Spain’s Under-17 team, who have also recently called up teammates Borja Martínez and Iván Calero.

From the same team, striker Oli Torres earned rave reviews for his performances both in the Juvenil División de Honor and Under-17 Club World Cup last June. If he turns out to be half as good as a former striker with his name, then we may well have a player on our hands.

Atlético also have an impressive total of five players in the Spanish Under-16 squad at the moment, goalkeeper Santiago Canedo, defenders Alejandro Díez and Daniel Sánchez, midfielder Enrique Fajarnes and striker Roberto Núñez.

Dropping down all the way to Alevín level, two names that are already being talked about by many are the Obama twins Salomón and Federico, both just eleven years of age. Salomón especially is drawing attention, having scored a record breaking amount of goals in his short time at the club so far.

Of course it’s impossible to judge quite how a good player at this age to become, but the production line at the club does not look to be in short supply.

Which players do you think show the most promise? Are any of them capable of making the jump to the first team?

  • Geir Magne

    Very positive to Noguera. And I saw Oli Torres in some games, and he is brilliant! Good article, Billy!

  • Davide

    I like Pedro. He looked to be a very intelligent attacker/striker. Always seem to pop up at right time and right place. Very hard working also. I would like to see him get more chances than Adrían.

  • 92

    I think that Pulido, Collado and Cidoncha are ready to debut, we need a RB and why not tryout with Pulido?, what if he performs well?. Another forward is required too and Collado seems a good alternative, we also need a RW, and Pizzi, only God knows his position, so why not try with Cidoncha instead?, I’ve heard good references from him and he is 21, so I think he is ready to make his debut. Also, I think Fer definately has to be promoted this or next year, he seems very capable of making the jump to the first team, we need to start using the cantera more, I think it’s no use in debuting players if the coach doesn’t really gives them playing time, like Manzano who said he was gonna give Koke and Pulido some minutes, and that’s not happening, we need to be able to have faith in our youngsters and thrust them with the responsibilty of playing in the first division.

  • 92

    That image with N’Doye, Roberto, Pedro and Noguera holding hands is priceless, this is what I really want to see in all the stadiums around the world: unity, not ignorant and racists chants, mocking people like Puerta, or displaying political and degrading flags and banners, FIFA should really DO something, specially Blatter, instead of visiting stadiums and other useless things, he should really work on erradicating the hooligans in all stadiums rather than just sit on his chair and bossing everybody around, anyways I know this note is about the canteranos, so I wish N’Doye, Roberto, Pedro and Noguera make their debuts and have regular playing time with Atleti’s first team.

  • Javi

    Great article Billy
    It’s good to learn about the canteranos and difficult to get much info