Zidane puts faith in Hakimi

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Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has once again shown his willingness to develop youth within the European Champions' expensively assembled squad.

With Los Blancos known for splashing the cash on the best players around the world, the French manager has slightly changed their transfer policy with the likes of Danilo, Álvaro Morata and James Rodríguez all leaving the club in the off-season.

The arrivals of 19-year-old Theo Hernández and 20-year-old Dani Ceballos from Atletico Madrid and Real Betis were the only new faces at the club this term.

Fans and local media alike questioned Zidane's decisions with a lack of depth being cited by critics, if injuries arise within the starting XI, but newly promoted 18-year-old defender Achraf Hakimi has proven to be the catalyst for silencing the doubters of Zidane's eye for talent.

The Morocco international has slotted seamlessly into the right-back role in the absence of undisputed starter Dani Carvajal, who's consistency last season led to the sale of Danilo to Manchester City in the off-season.

While the Spain international has been ruled out for at least a month due to pericarditis, Zidane has heaped praise on the latest Academy graduate from Castilla.

"He was outstanding," Zidane said after the 18-year-old's recent debut against Espanyol. "Achraf has shown that he can play and I am not scared to throw him in going forward. He is the second-choice right-back and so if Carvajal is not available, he can play."

Hakimi has been capped four times by the Atlas Lions since making his debut under manager Herve Renard as a 17-year-old in 2016.