Julen Lopetegui Opens Door for Vinicius Junior Debut as He Hints at Rotating Real Madrid Squad

​Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui has opened the door for Vinicius Junior to make his debut against Espanyol, as he considers rotating his squad to combat a congested run of fixtures. 

Vinicius, 18, joined Los Blancos over the summer and while he made four appearances during the club’s pre-season fixtures he has yet to make his senior debut having featured primarily for the club’s reserve side. 

Athletic de Bilbao v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander

However, ​Real are set to play five games in the space of just two weeks, and Lopetegui is conscious of utilising the depth of his squad to ensure maximum points are obtained throughout this period. 

“It’s normal that the fixture list is like this. When a team is playing in the Champions League it’s the way things are and we have to approach it game-by-game and knowing that the squad depth we have will be used,” Lopetegui said, via ​AS.

“Football is not about the starting XI, in every game there are 14 players and in a squad that wants to win everything everybody is important. No two players are the same and all of them want to put into practice what we are trying to achieve.”

When asked directly if that meant Vinicius would be involved in the squad for the ​La Liga clash on Saturday evening at the Bernabeu, he added: “We will always make decisions based on what we feel is best for the team. We’ll see tomorrow.”

Moreover, Álvaro Odriozola is set for his Real debut after his summer move from Real Sociedad after first choice right back Dani Carvajal picked up a knock in the Champions League win over Roma in midweek. 

Dani Ceballos is also in line for game time against Espanyol after featuring in the 1-1 draw against San Mamés and featuring off the bench against Roma.