Despite showing bright flashes when he’s gotten first team minutes, opportunities in Bayern Munich’s first team have been few and far between for Marc Roca. Even though Hansi Flick is a big fan of his and has taken a lot of one-on-one time to work with him individually, the Spaniard has only made a total of 11 appearance across all competitions this season, the majority of which were as a substitute off the bench. He started twice in the Champions League, once in the DFB-Pokal, once in the FIFA Club World Cup, and once in the Bundesliga.
In a way, with Julian Nagelsmann taking over from RB Leipzig as of July 1st, Roca will have to start fresh once again. He found it difficult to get into the team even under a manager in Flick that rated him, so now it could be even more difficult under Nagelsmann to break into the team on a semi-consistent basis. Still, though, in a recent interview with Tz, Roca said he’s still confident of his future at Bayern, even with a new manager coming in.
When he initially came to Bayern from Espanyol, he said it was a difficult transition, especially doing so in a year and season that was plagued by the coronavirus pandemic. Despite not getting a bevy of minutes, he said he still gets the feeling that he’s moving in the right direction. “The first year away from home is always difficult, especially at a club as big as Bayern. Of course, I would have liked to have had more minutes on the pitch, but I still have the impression that I’m improving every day here and am becoming a more mature player. I see myself on the right track. Everything will, if one is patient.”
Roca admitted that he had spoken with RB Leipzig’s fellow Spaniard Dani Olmo about Nagelsmann and what to expect from him when he comes to Bayern this summer. “Nagelsmann achieved a lot at a young age, that speaks for him. I have the impression that he will be just as great a leader as Hansi Flick. Position play is important to him, which can only accommodate a player like me. I have a great desire to get to know him, internalize his philosophy and — hopefully — have more minutes on the pitch. When the season is over, I’ll have another chat with Olmo so he can reveal more, even more,” he explained.
As a collective with his progression at Bayern, Roca revealed that he like to set his focus on a day-to-day basis rather than set long term goals. This way, he said, he can control what he can control, and not consciously worry as much about what he can’t control. He’s in and amongst a star-studded cast of players at FC Bayern, so it’s always going to be difficult to make a constant impression and get first team minutes. “It may sound like a football cliché, but I actually think from day to day. I consciously don’t want to set myself any long-term goals, especially if they don’t depend one hundred percent on you. I want to take small but specific steps, improve my German, become a better player. But of course: every player wants to play and feel important. Nonetheless, I can feel the club’s confidence in my abilities. That’s the only thing that matters. I am confident. Playing for a club like Bayern Munich is every player’s dream. Giving up now would not do me justice,” he said.
With Javi Martinez’s departure, a central midfield spot has certainly opened up in Bayern’s midfield depth. Corentin Tolisso’s future is also relatively uncertain, which could, in theory, help Roca’s case for minutes if the French international was to leave this summer. However, it’s been reported that Bayern is in the market for another central midfielder as well as another right back, so depending on potential transfer activity in that regard, it could still put a hinderance on Roca’s potential for minutes under Nagelsmann.
(Original interview was conducted by AS journalist José Carlos Menzel López.)