Saul Niguez and Luis Enrique
Spain made a powerful begin to their new period beneath Luis Enrique throughout the worldwide break as they rebuild after World Cup disappointment.
La Roja, who had been knocked out in the last 16 in Russia, beat England at Wembley and thrashed World Cup finalists Croatia 6-0 in former Barcelona supervisor Enrique’s first two video games in cost.
Spanish soccer skilled Guillem Balague, talking on BBC Radio 5 dwell’s Soccer Each day podcast, was impressed and says Spain at the moment are correctly utilising a participant who might develop into “the highest midfielder in Europe”.
Saul involves the fore
Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez scored in each of Spain’s Nations League wins in a new-look midfield following the retirements of Andres Iniesta and David Silva.
The 23-year-old began each video games regardless of being an unused substitute all through the World Cup.
Balague stated Saul has “all the pieces” and might play in a “Simone model”, an aggressive urgent model employed by his membership supervisor Diego Simeone, in addition to a “Barcelona model with high quality in his passes”.
“We’ve by no means had a midfielder like this,” Balague stated. “Lastly individuals have realised the expertise that this man has.
“As an 18-year-old he was provided to Everton they usually stated no, as a 20-year-old he was provided to Manchester United they usually stated no however I believe within the subsequent couple of years we might be speaking about him as one of many high, if not the highest midfielder in Europe.
“He can play within the Simeone model with out the ball, fast placing groups beneath stress, but additionally within the Barcelona model if he needed to, fast together with his passes, and naturally he has obtained the physique to return from deep as he did with one of many objectives in opposition to Croatia. You’ve got all the pieces in a single participant.”
Saul’s staring function in opposition to Croatia got here in his house city of Elche, the place each his brother and father performed, whereas Actual Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio additionally impressed with a objective and three assists.
“Marco Asensio confirmed as nicely how a lot high quality he has obtained and which means the one who obtained cornered is [Real Madrid’s] Isco,” Balague stated.
“I believe we’ll see much less of Isco extra of Saul and extra of Marco Asensio for Spain.”
What has Enrique modified?
Six gamers – David de Gea, Nacho, Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets, Isco and Asensio – began each the World Cup defeat to Russia and the primary sport of the Enrique period at Wembley on Saturday.
The appointment of Enrique led to solutions that Spain would transfer away from the passing model that helped them win the World Cup in 2010 and the Euros 2008 and 2012.
However Balague stated the passing model was evident in Enrique’s opening wins.
“Spain appeared extra direct and incisive however they really handed the identical quantity of occasions as in opposition to Russia within the World Cup,” Balague stated.
“However you had the likes of Saul working from deep, Asensio additionally breaking the defensive traces, and also you had Rodrigo who has been a discover from Luis Enrique.
“The passing sport remains to be there however now there may be intent behind these passes.
“What was attention-grabbing as nicely was there have been no Barcelona gamers on the pitch within the final half an hour in opposition to Croatia.
“For the primary time in a decade, Barcelona aren’t an important half.
“The whole lot was constructed round Barcelona however what you’ve now obtained is a staff with character of Barcelona however is represented by extra golf equipment than only one membership.”
Who was guilty for the World Cup exit?
Spain had been one of many favourites for the World Cup after an unbeaten qualifying marketing campaign which included 9 wins and one attracts.
However they sacked manager Julen Lopetegui two days earlier than their opening fixture, solely received one match beneath Lopetegui’s substitute Fernando Hierro – a narrow 1-0 victory over Iran – and suffered a shock defeat to Russia within the final 16.
“It was a consequence of plenty of issues,” Balague stated. “The gamers weren’t as sharp mentally or bodily, to eliminate the coach did not assist.
“Hierro did not wish to rattle the cage, did not wish to revolutionise something as a result of he could not. They did not have a coach telling them to run with the ball and run into area however now we do have that.”