March 7, 2018 / 8:23 PM / 8 months ago

Soccer-Englishman McGuane makes Barca debut in friendly

BARCELONA, March 7 (Reuters) - Former Arsenal midfielder Marcus McGuane became the first Englishman to play for Barcelona’s first team in 29 years after coming on as a substitute in a Catalan Super Cup friendly against city rivals Espanyol on Wednesday.

Gary Lineker was the last English player to represent Barca, the former England striker joining the Spanish club from Everton in 1986 and winning the King’s Cup and European Cup Winners Cup before moving to Tottenham Hotspur in 1989.

McGuane, 19, replaced Aleix Vidal in the 77th minute of the friendly on a neutral ground in the Catalan city of Lleida which finished 0-0 without extra-time. Barca won a penalty shootout 4-2.

The defensive midfielder signed for Barca’s reserve team on January 30 after spending over a decade in Arsenal’s youth academy, making two brief appearances in their Europa League games against Red Star Belgrade and BATE Borisov this season.

He has represented England at Under-17 and Under-19 level after switching allegiance from Ireland.

McGuane has played four games for Barca B, who are 16th in Spain’s second tier, and was one of 12 members of the reserve side called up for the Espanyol friendly alongside first-team players including Ousmane Dembele, Andre Gomes and Paco Alcacer.

Barca’s regular starters such as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique were rested for the game against Espanyol. (Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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