Luis Enrique encourages Spain players to earn World Cup starts

Spain coach Luis Enrique challenged his players to earn their place in the starting line-up at the World Cup in Thursday's friendly against Jordan.

AFP , Wednesday 16 Nov 2022,
Spain s coach Luis Enrique gives a press conference in Amman on November 16, 2022, a day before Spai
Spain s coach Luis Enrique gives a press conference in Amman on November 16, 2022, a day before Spain faces Jordan in a friendly match in the Jordanian capital. AFP

The 2010 World Cup winners play in Amman before travelling to Doha on Friday, with their first match of the tournament against Costa Rica on November 23.

Luis Enrique does not tend to have a fixed starting-line up and he told his squad that he would read a lot into the friendly.

"The conclusions I will take from the game tomorrow are important and the players know it," Luis Enrique told a press conference on Wednesday in Jordan.

"I like to focus a lot on what players do in training, so imagine what a game means."

One of the players looking to prove himself is Barcelona striker Ansu Fati, who was included in the squad at the last minute, by coach Luis Enrique's own admission.

The 20-year-old has spent much of the last two years on the sidelines because of a knee problem and other injuries, but has found fitness this season, albeit not starting regularly for his club.

"Let's stop referring to Ansu as a player who has overcome an injury," said Luis Enrique.

"I've seen he is better, quite a bit better, than the last time he came (to the squad). Tomorrow he will start and I hope he plays 90 minutes.

"A professional player gets injured and then recovers. What we have to recover is his level. Seeing him in training, he's got it."

Another player who faces stiff competition is Manchester City midfielder Rodri, who is vying for a starting spot at pivot against veteran Sergio Busquets.

The Barcelona man is the only player in the squad who formed part of their triumph in 2010 in South Africa and is still an essential player for Luis Enrique.

"If you ask my opinion, we are two great players in the same position," said Rodri.

"We've shown we can play together. We are both intelligent and intelligent players always understand each other on the pitch.

"I am convinced there will be phases of the tournament where the coach does that, I have no doubt.

"I remember that with Xabi Alonso and Busquets we won a World Cup."

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