Luis Enrique managed to beat Italy’s long-running unbeaten streak of 37 games under Mancini, and did so with a young and promising team. Spain also played a young team at the European Championships this summer and it almost paid off as they made it to the semi-finals and lost that to Italy on penalties. It seems like Luis Enrique did a good job promoting the young Spaniards as they look solid all over the pitch and this new golden generation could finally live up to their 2010 squad that won the World Cup.
If things go in the right direction for the exciting new Spanish team and Luis Enrique, they could even do better than their predecessors. But first they face France in the Nations League final and a win against the current world champions could be just what they need to build their confidence and morale for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Allá vamos! pic.twitter.com/Ek1iSWMT73
– LUISENRIQUE (@ LUISENRIQUE21) June 14, 2021
Luis Enrique revolutionized Spanish football during his tenure by developing their typical Tiki-Taka system into something meaningful. Spain have been criticized in the past for mindlessly passing and retaining possession, but Enrique has focused on being more aggressive while also maintaining possession. Enrique tends to play teenagers as he wants to be tactically fluent. He uses versatile players because he wants his entire team to work as a unit and do whatever is needed for the team.
All of his 3 attackers are comfortable both on the wings and in the middle, as they often switch positions and discard opposing defenders. This creates space in the defense on the counterattack and we saw that last in the Nations League against Italy. By changing formation and pushing all the players forward, Enrique ensures that his team is constantly putting pressure and posing a threat by finding scoring opportunities, which sets his new system apart from the traditional way of playing Spanish football in the past.
Luis Enrique has done a good job helping the new and aspiring players grow up. Let’s look at some players who would take Spain’s name to great heights in the years to come.
Pedri is only 18 years old, but has made himself the first name on the team list for both the club and the country. His performance at Euro 2020 was certainly commendable and on top of that, after just a few weeks he was playing for Spain at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and won the gold medal with them. Last season he played 74 games in all competitions, which shows how important he can be to his side. Pedri acts as the fulcrum for both the attack and the defensive and also for both flanks. His job is to keep the team intact and to develop goal chances from a distance.
2) DANI OLMO
Dani Olmo is another player who gained worldwide recognition during the EM, but what most people don’t know is that Olmo dominated the Bundesliga long before his Spanish tenure with RB Leipzig. Dano Olmo can literally play all over the course. He also played as left winger and a false 9 for Spain and the special thing about Olmos is that he often tends to shit back into midfield to give their midfielders and defenders an additional pass option that also helps their broad players free up on the wings move and thinly stretch the opposing defense.
Ferran Torres has scored 20 goals in their last 10 international matches that speak for themselves. Torres has made the wrong 9 for Manchester City this season and Luis Enrique has entrusted the 21-year-old with the same responsibility as Alvaro Morata is absent due to injury. Torres has improved with each game for both City and Spain and it seems that the only path is open for the productive youngster.
4) UNAI VENCEDOR
Sergio Busquets has long led the Spanish midfield but Luis Enrique has found his successor in Athletic Bilbao’s Unia Vencedor. Bilbao have exceeded expectations lately and are currently 7th in the La Liga table, conceding just 4 goals in 8 games. Much of the merit goes back to Vencedor’s defensive skills in midfield. The deeply rooted playmaker is a jack-of-all-trades and as mentioned, Luis Enrique was looking for just that during his tenure.
– Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 6, 2021
Gavi became Spain’s youngest ever player when he received his cap in the match against Italy and it’s safe to say he took full advantage of the opportunity. A central midfielder who played challenging tackles near his own penalty area and played wonderful balls to Oyarzabal and Torres. The player has a bright future for Spain and Barcelona and time will tell what other tricks the 17-year-old has up his sleeve. The player can also act as a winger so it will be interesting to see Enrique experiment with the youngster as he does so often.
6) BRYAN GIL
Tottenham bought Bryan Gil from Seville this summer. The player was last on loan at Eibar, where he became famous and his performances earned him a place on the Olympic squad for Spain. Now Gil is promoted to the Spanish senior team and the quick left winger will make all the difference for them in time. His ability to slide past defenders with almost no effort makes him an ideal winger and if Spain can find someone with headers Gil can deliver great crosses from a distance.
7) YEREMY PINO
Yeremy Pino also received his first international match against Italy when the player was able to shine from the bench in the second half. The players’ ball control made it impossible for Italian defenders to land a good tackle on him and the player slapped his defenders left and right, offering cut-in passes to their striker. Pino’s dribbling skills and abilities made him an attractive player to watch and he would surely see more of him over time. The player has played 6 games for Villarreal and has already delivered one goal and 3 assists.