Sergino Dest has endured a rough start to the new year at FC Barcelona, but the young American is determined to regain his best form.
Dest has been sidelined with a thigh injury that will now reportedly keep him out for a third straight match and force him to miss his fourth match in five. The 20-year-old former Ajax fullback is set to miss Barcelona’s upcoming match against Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday, and while he did return to training on Tuesday, he was limited to individual work.
Dest has been dealing with a thigh issue since January 9th, when he left Barcelona’s 4-0 win against Granada with thigh discomfort. He was left on the bench for Barcelona’s next match, the Spanish Super Cup semifinal win against Real Sociedad, and lasted just 45 minutes when Ronald Koeman started him in the Super Cup final against Athletic Bilbao.
Since then, Dest missed the Copa Del Rey win against Cornella, and while he returned to the squad, he was left on the bench for Barcelona’s recent win against Elche.
The recent injury woes came at the tail end of a run of 13 consecutive starts in all competitions over the course of six weeks for Dest. That grueling workload has caught up to Dest, who had only previously played a similar stretch of minutes once in his career, when he made 11 straight starts in a six-week span for Ajax at the start of 2020. That stretch was halted by the stoppage Coronavirus pandemic.
Dest admitted to having his confidence take a hit in the midst of his recent physical issues, which halted a good run of form for the USMNT defender.
“For me, it’s important to recover that confidence because I feel like I’m not 100 percent right now,” Dest said in a recent interview with La Liga. “That’s the most important thing right now, recovering my confidence and playing like I know how.”
Dest is not only fighting through an injury, he is also facing a threat to his hold on the starting right back spot with the looming return from injury of veteran Sergi Roberto. It was an injury to Roberto last fall that opened the door for Dest to become Koeman’s first-choice right back, and Roberto’s return could keep Dest on the bench heading into an important February that includes the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash with Paris Saint-Germain.