The Spanish men’s soccer team has not taken too long to shelve the World Cup in Qatar and two days after the elimination in the round of 16 against Morocco already has a new project that will be in charge of leading Luis de la Fuente and that he wants to look optimistic to the nearest future after a cycle with hopeful lights such as the semifinals of EURO 2020 and the qualification for two ‘F4’ of the League of Nations, but also shadows such as this harsh World Cup goodbye.
The coach from La Rioja, ‘raised’ in the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and successful in his time at the base, especially with the Sub-21 and the Olympic Sub-23, will be in charge of returning to excite the good and promising foundation that has been left for the coming years by his predecessor in office, Luis Enrique Martinez.
The Asturian never looked at the footballers’ cards to make their calls, but he did undertake the renewal of the national team when he took office in 2018 and always pulled a lot from the Under-21s for his lists. The one from Gijon lowered the average age of the ‘Red’ and it does not seem very likely that De la Fuente, a great connoisseur of national grassroots football, will abandon that line.
“I am clearly convinced that you have to bet on young people because they are players of tremendous quality, solvent and identified with their clubs. They deserve the opportunity to show the potential they have within and I am pleased that many young people and top level are appearing because For us, it opens up a range where the vast majority have the level to be in an Under-21 team where there is a tremendous demand,” De la Fuente warned before the U-21 team’s last friendly against Japan at the end of November.
Spain was planted in Qatar, after the inclusion of Alejandro Balde in place of the injured Jose Luis Gayà, with up to nine players under the age of 23, led by Gavi (18). Along with him, the aforementioned Balde (19), Ansu Fati (20), Pedri (20), Yeremi Pino (20) and Nico Williams (20) are still under-21 age, and the list is completed by Eric Garcia (21 ), Ferran Torres (22) and Hugo Guillamon (22).
All of them known for that of Haro, who was even barely able to enjoy many of them due to his early jump to the Absolute, such as Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres or Pedri Gonzalez, although the canary did have him at the Tokyo Games, or that of a Gavi who was placed under the orders of Luis Enrique at the age of 17.
In addition, other young players such as Dani Olmo (24), Unai Simon (25), Robert Sanchez (25), Pau Torrres (25), Carlos Soler (25), Marco Asensio (26) and Rodri Hernandez (26) were also in Qatar. ), almost all of them know De la Fuente well, except for the goalkeeper. This group should be joined by Mikel Oyarzabal (25), still recovering from his serious knee injury and who could be one of the great reinforcements for the man from Haro.
Marcos Llorente (27), Aymeric Laporte (28), Gayà himself (27) and the third goalkeeper, David Raya (27), are the other three players under 30 years of age for a team that with the man from La Rioja could still be rejuvenated more, but still without great veterans beyond Sergio Busquets (34), Jordi Alba (33) or Cesar Azpilicueta (33). Alvaro Morata, Koke Resurreccion, Dani Carvajal and Pablo Sarabia, all in the 30s, complete the list of the ‘thirties’ of a team that does not have to make a revolution in this sense, especially looking at Euro 2024 .
Now, the new coach has months to start developing his project, which will officially roll out in March with the first two games of the qualifying phase for the 2024 Euro Cup in Germany. Norway, on Saturday the 25th at home, and Scotland, on Tuesday the 28th at home, will be the first two rivals of this new era that will have its first “important” date in mid-June with the “Final Four” of the League of Nations against the Netherlands, Croatia and Italy.
Until then, we will have to wait to see which path Luis de la Fuente wants to choose, further rejuvenating the triple European champion. ‘Old acquaintances’ such as Dani Ceballos (26) and Mikel Merino (26), whom he took to Tokyo, Fabian Ruiz (26) or Martin Zubimendi (23), also an Olympian and considered one of the best ‘5’ on the scene Currently, they dream of counting again, while in the Under-21, which has a European Championship in June, there could be new leaps with some of its most prominent names such as striker Abel Ruiz.