The protection of Ansu Fati

There is a blind conviction in Luis Enrique and in the sports management of the federation that Ansu Fati is the footballer who can alleviate one of the defects that hamper the performance of the Spanish team in attack when rivals get entrenched in their area. The Barcelona striker is regarded by the coaching staff as a unique player in Spain due to his ability to team up in the final meters inside and out, to lead transitions at speed and for his good relationship with the goal.

Already recovered from the torn meniscus and muscle injuries that have kept him off the pitch for two years, Luis Enrique has dedicated himself to pampering the footballer who can raise the quality level of the national team on the pitch more complicated, the area and its surroundings. “After not playing any game as a starter for his club, not even in the friendly in Australia, I called him to enter into the dynamics of the selection, to listen to the message of the things we do with and without the ball. I just wanted to see him train with the national team and see his level”, explained Luis Enrique.

The training of the Spanish team during these two weeks of concentration have had a common sequence. In the final minutes, Ansu Fati separated from his teammates and headed towards a goal accompanied by members of the coaching staff. On several occasions, with Rafa Pol, physical trainer and, at the same time, Luis Enrique’s second. In others, it was the coach himself, as in the session held in Geneva, who closely supervised the individualized work of the Barcelona attacker. Most of those solo exercises with the ball have responded to the repetition of the most natural and determining movement of it: control, spin and spike. He has also had muscle strengthening sessions for the lower body to avoid possible injuries resulting from the meniscal tear. He has even been seen running through a Prague park attached to the hotel where the team was staying.

Until now, Luis Enrique has applied part of the plan that Ansu Fati has followed at Barça since he reappeared last April. He has not given him any title, but unlike Xavi Hernández, he has not given him minutes in the three games played. In the heat of a good result and the Malacitana fans, for whom he is the biggest claim of this team apparently at the door of the hotel, tonight he could resume his career as an international. “After seeing his level, I am convinced that he is very well, that he has recovered, that the injury is part of the past, but from there to being at a level that I consider necessary to compete with us, I have not seen him there. . He has been improving with training, that he plays will be based on his needs, ”warned the man from Gijón.

No hurries

Luis Enrique’s overprotection with Ansu Fati responds to that of a coach who is aware that right now he is managing a delicate talent due to his youth and for having lived through the worst experience of an elite athlete: postoperative problems that led to relapses. So much so that the coach did not hesitate to warn the press not to remember his injury “because it can create a pathology.” The coach’s gaze is set on the World Cup in Qatar, on being able to fully count on a differential footballer. “In his relationship with the goal he is unique, that is why we were the first to bring him to the national team convinced of his level. You don’t have to be in a hurry, it comes from a very difficult year, overcome, but you have to be at the necessary rhythms that I believe, ”insisted the coach from Gijón.

“He still has it left, he has gone through a very difficult season. I have also had complicated injuries and at first you are afraid to sprint, to make technical gestures. It’s not easy to jump in. He is eager, but he also knows the situation he has been through. If he has to play, fine; if not, next season. He is a hard-working and humble boy”, extols Jordi Alba.

During these two weeks, the boy has lived a lot with Eric García and Gavi, his teammates at Barcelona. In the training mix, mainly in the rondos, he is one of the entertainers and also where he is no stranger to most of the players who feel special. There is no ball that reaches him in which he does not try to make a virguería that distinguishes him from the rest with the ball. Just what Luis Enrique intends.

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