After recovering from a knee injury, Spain’s head coach Luis Enrique backed Ansu Fati’s sensation in Barcelona to pick up from where he left off.
Fati will spend four months on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on a tear to the inner meniscus of his left knee — an injury suffered in Saturday’s 5-2 LaLiga victory over Real Betis.
The 18-year-old was in great shape for Barca this season, scoring five goals and helping two more in all competitions in 10 appearances. He became the youngest ever scorer for Spain with his goal against Ukraine in September, amongst several other records. That was one of four caps won under Luis Enrique and the former coach of Barcelona is optimistic that the teenage attacker can find his best form once he returns to action.
“Injuries are part of soccer, no matter how old you are,” Luis Enrique said at a news conference ahead of Wednesday’s friendly meeting with the Netherlands.
“It is a sad moment, but that will be resolved by him. He’s going to be the old Ansu again.”
Fati ‘s absence could give the likes of Alvaro Morata and Marcos Llorente a chance to shine in the assault on the Netherlands.
Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke is back for the first time in over two years, while team-mate Llorente is in line for the international window for his maiden cap.
“Morata is here because he has the confidence of his coach. He has a high profile,” Luis Enrique said.
Llorente almost plays as a winger at Atletico now, as a second striker.
“The usual thing is to change your stance by getting deeper into your position, but with Llorente, it’s the other way around.”
Spain is approaching the midweek friendly in Amsterdam on the back of a surprise 1-0 Nations League defeat to Ukraine last month.
La Roja won only two of their five matches this calendar year, but Luis Enrique insisted that all that matters is that his side peak in time for next year’s rescheduled Euro 2020 finals.
“He said,” These games will help us see all the teams. “But after playing these three games, we will still not know what we have for the European Championships. That will be seen in the tournament itself, where we can do all right. And we are going to see. I like what I see. You’ve got to want to be.”