Pablo Insua – The first chapter

Posted: October 18, 2013 in Deportivo La Coruna
Insua applauds the fans.

Insua applauds the fans.

In November 2012, Deportivo La Coruña academy product Pablo Insua made his first-team debut in a 1-1 draw away at Athletic Bilbao. Despite playing just ten minutes, he made two crucial interceptions in a match which saw Depor climb out of the relegation zone for the first time that season. His chances were limited due to the club not wanting to risk fielding youngsters because of the imminent relegation fight and eventual fall into the Segunda. 

Insua then found himself making two more appearances in the 2012/13 season, both of which he’ll remember for the experience but will definitely want to forget when thought of in detail. Two weeks after that eye-catching performance away at Athletic Bilbao, Insua found himself starting against Atletico Madrid. Unfortunately for the 19-year-old (at the time), he was on the receiving end of an absolute mauling wherein which Radamel ‘El Tigre’ Falcao produced one of, if not, his greatest performances in the red and white of Atletico Madrid; the Colombian netted five times in a game which ended 6-0 to Atleti.

Fast-forward to March 2013 and Insua was making another appearance, this time one he’ll never forget due to the opponent: Barcelona. A loss was expected, and that’s what occurred, but Insua showed again why he’s regarded highly by those at Depor. He was put up against Messi and all of the other Barcelona superstars and held his own, showed maturity beyond his years and took away with him a very special experience: playing against a magnificent Barcelona team at the Nou Camp. In the post-match interview, Insua went on to say “I’m still speechless. I never thought I’d get to play against Messi and co. at the Camp Nou”.

So Insua racked up three league appearances, in La Liga, as Depor dropped down to the Segunda for the second time in three years. A year of new, unforgettable, individual experiences but probably a season to forget in general. With Depor in continuous financial turmoil, the departures of Valeron, Riki, Aranzubia and all of the loanees from the past season, Fernando Vazquez stressed the importance of promoting players from the youth echelons of Depor. When speaking of the youngsters, he only mentioned one individually and that was Insua; his words were “the only youth player that has a secure place in the first-team is Pablo Insua”. It was a promise Vazquez had made, one he has stuck by this season and one that he is being rewarded for.

Pablo Insua has been a mainstay in the Depor starting XI and one of the standout performers in a defence that, in the league, has kept five clean-sheets in nine games — Insua starting in eight of those nine. Insua reads the game ridiculously well for someone at the age of 20 who hasn’t had much regular football for the first-team; he’s made 14 interceptions in those eight games, further encapsulating the idea that he reads the game very well. Another one of Insua’s traits is his heading – the youngster stands at 6’2″ – which makes him the perfect partner to Depor’s diminutive makeshift centre-back, Álex Bergantiños.

Insua has had to deal with a lot in the early months of this season from handling the immense pressure on his shoulders of satisfying the fans who have seen their club relegated twice in three years, please Vazquez so that he continues in the starting XI and also the constant changing of his centre-back partners. For a centre-back, there’s nothing worse than not having your regular partner next to you and Insua has experienced this first-hand this season. Carlos Marchena, Uxio, Bergantiños and Kaka have all partnered Insua but none have been mainstays due to either injury or poor form. If you look at someone like Pique, for Barcelona, he’s been in relatively poor form in the past few seasons because of the constant changing of his partner; it’s two completely different scenarios, of course, but it’s great to see that someone so young and new to the team can deal with the constant changes and adapt to them.

Insua is a vocal, articulate character in the post and pre-match interviews. He speaks very highly of Vazquez and the fans but he’s also an extremely realistic person and won’t fill the fans with delusions of grandeur regarding the club’s current position – this is another factor as to why Insua’s become a fan favourite and yet another trait to his overall footballing package that leads me to believe that he will be a shoe-in for the captaincy in the future.

Insua, not only won over the fans with his performances, but also scored Depor’s first goal of the season in a 0-1 win against Las Palmas, the team whom Valeron re-signed for. His towering header registered three points for Depor and his colossus performances at centre-back have also been key in Depor picking up a numerous amount of away wins this season.

Insua celebrates his first ever goal for Depor, away at Las Palmas.

Insua celebrates his first ever goal for Depor, away at Las Palmas.

Insua’s performances for Depor haven’t gone unnoticed by the coaches in Spain as the Spaniard was rewarded with a Spain Under 21 call-up, as Julen Lopetegui felt he was the perfect replacement for the injured Sergi Gomez. Insua was an unused substitute but still traveled with the likes of Carvajal, Morata, Muniain and Deulofeu (big name youngsters). Some of these players, such as Deulofeu, Insua will be familiar with as they were both integral parts of the Spain Under 19 squad which won the European Championships in 2012 (funnily enough, I wrote about Insua during that tournament too).

Only a few pages in the book of Insua’s promising career have been written, but they have been enough to entice the smaller audience reading it. As the season progresses, there is no doubt that Insua will continue to put in some impressive performances and begin to catch the eyes of scouts from around Europe. Insua was once looked at closely by Chelsea and Manchester City so it’s apparent, to the general audience, that he’s a talented player who’s continuing to grow and progress in football.

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