Teamwork makes the dream work

Luis Enrique’s Spain squad choice displays gamers that match his system, not the large names

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First got here the scaffolding platform. Then there was the large display. Now there’s the walkie talkie too. When Spain‘s gamers turned up at their Las Rozas HQ this week for the ultimate two video games earlier than the World Cup this winter, Luis Enrique gathered them collectively within the health club and defined that they’d discover that there was one thing completely different about their coaching package. At the back of the vest, close to the place the GPS goes, he had added slightly speaker, via which he might inform them precisely what to do.

“You are going to hear the mister’s voice,” he warned them. He stated he would attempt to not shout an excessive amount of however from the platform alongside the coaching pitch Spain’s supervisor talked to them: delivering orders, correcting errors, directing their subsequent transfer. Controlling the whole lot, getting it good.

“Whenever you first discover out, you think about there will likely be a lot of data, that he will likely be radio-controlling the sport,” Borja Iglesias admitted. “However he does it very nicely and it is a great way to get near the participant. It is unbelievable, helpful, and he is aware of methods to use it nicely: it is clear, concise and it helps.”

At 29, Iglesias is within the Spain squad for the primary time however he was within the Celta B crew when Luis Enrique was their first crew coach again in 2013. It has been a protracted path to the seleccion — he solely performed one league recreation within the Celta first crew, in January 2015 after Luis Enrique had gone, he went to Zaragoza within the second division, joined Espanyol for 2 years and is in his fourth season at Betis, the place he scored simply thrice in his first season — however Luis Enrique says he has been maintaining a tally of him for a very long time now. And Borja has seen his coach up shut too.

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The primary time Luis Enrique determined to construct a scaffolding platform on the coaching floor in order that he might watch over the session from a greater vantage level was in Vigo, and he continued that at Barcelona. With Spain, the place he turned coach in 2018, different improvements have adopted. If that platform enabled him to see their errors, he had a large display erected in conjunction with the pitch in order that he might present their errors, reside. Now, gripping his walkie talkie, he’s of their ears, stopping their errors. That at the least is the hope.

It is all Large Brother — “Papa will come out from behind you,” he advised his gamers — and loads Luis Enrique.

He is all the time been completely different, progressive, and really a lot his personal man (even when generally he makes such a factor of doing it his means that it suggests it’s partly about not doing issues different folks’s means, extra conscious of the skin than he likes to let on; even when his provocative nature is extra playful than his critics wish to admit). He was like that as a participant, going from Madrid to Barcelona, and is like that as a supervisor. Pushed by a fierce willpower and full conviction. One which he calls for his gamers share.

“He’s primarily the identical as he was [back then],” Iglesias says. “Issues have modified with time and expertise after all however he’s clearly the identical. He communicates a really related concept to the one he all the time had and in the identical means. He makes the squad very conscious of the best way he desires to play, explains it. He did it then at Celta. Now he has extra instruments at his disposal. I do not know if extra ‘functionality’ is the appropriate phrase however he has extra methods of reaching the gamers. I see an amazing similarity to what I noticed ten years in the past.”

“The way in which of enjoying is obvious for everybody. It is all primarily based on a transparent footballing concept: we’re higher than opponents if we play like we do,” Luis Enrique stated. “If we play lengthy ball, a lot of groups are going to beat us.”

And they also play his means — “even when if means giving the followers a coronary heart assault” — and so the message is pushed residence repeatedly, in phrase and deed: through huge display and small audio system. The philosophy will not be solely rigid however it could possibly really feel prefer it and for so long as it’s held, it’s held firmly. It’s expressed immediately, unflinchingly, with out compromise, and defined absolutely, immediately. It’s non-negotiable.

Hearken to him speak — in his first press convention of this get-together, he was there for nearly an hour — and it’s fascinating. Even if you happen to nonetheless disagree with a few of his choices, issues fall into place and all of it is sensible. On his phrases, at the least. And it is all the time on his phrases.

The primary day that Luis Enrique took over he made an announcement of intent: he was the chief. This week he stated “In case you come and do what we wish, you may be again; if you happen to do not…”

For Luis Enrique, the seleccion will not be a reward, it’s a crew. And it isn’t concerning the golf equipment, it’s concerning the nation, underneath his management. “I watch the press conferences that different worldwide coaches do and really feel empathy with them as a result of I see that the identical issues occur to them as occur to me: they all the time get requested concerning the gamers who have not been picked,” he stated.

“It is very exhausting to please everybody. I perceive that. It is regular that followers of a sure crew say ‘hey, this man ought to go.’ Once I was a child I did it too: I obtained aggravated when [Sporting Gijon players] Eloy and Ablanedo did not go. ‘Come on, man, how are you going to not take these guys once they’re one of the best?'”

How? As a result of they may not be a crew. Which is why if Luis Enrique’s decisions do not make sense to some — and there have been many seemingly left-field decisions, many who might be questioned — they do make sense to him, the person with extra of a vested curiosity within the facet than anybody else, the person with the evaluation, the person offering the framework into which it should all match.

There is a footballing factor, and a bunch factor too, a query of authority: it issues, for instance, that he felt Sergio Ramos wasn’t solely sincere about his bodily situation the final time he joined the squad. Whilst you can by no means absolutely know what might need occurred with people who did not come, you possibly can decide what occurred with people who did. As soon as they’re with him, recognized as these that may be moulded to an concept, that is the place to win him over, the chance to develop into a part of this group. It’s right here that the method is drilled into them, that it should be adopted and if not, you are not coming again, nearly it doesn’t matter what you do on the skin. You do not earn your home there, you earn your home right here.



Gemma Soler speaks after Gavi turned Spain’s youngest ever goalscorer of their 2-2 draw with the Czech Republic.

“Given alternative between what they’ve carried out for his or her golf equipment and what they’ve carried out for me, I’ll all the time select what they’ve carried out for me,” the coach says. And among the greatest, most closely criticised calls have been vindicated with time too: Dani Olmo, Pedri, Gavi, perhaps even Eric Garcia now.

The apparent instance is Iago Aspas, one of the best ways to clarify his method — not least as a result of it is the choice that is seemingly hardest to clarify. Aspas is one of the best Spanish ahead round and has been for actually fairly a very long time. Not taking him appears frankly absurd at occasions. He deserves to play for Spain. Watch him weekly with Celta and it is nearly unimaginable to understand him not getting the decision. However, then, deserves? It is not about deserve.

Take this reply from Luis Enrique — which, it ought to be added, wasn’t explicitly about Aspas however type of feels prefer it was and is at the least relevant to him as it’s to everybody:

“When journalists have a look at a participant who actually stands out at a given second, they achieve this within the context of his membership,” the Spain coach stated. “However within the context of his membership, that participant is the primary and everybody performs to him. He scores all of the targets, he does not defend. The context of the nationwide crew may be very completely different. Right here the crew does not play for one participant; all of us play for one another. All of us assault, all of us defend. I’ve had a lot of these gamers that the media calls for, they usually have come right here and that what has occurred, occurred.”

“A crew will not be made up merely of one of the best eleven gamers in LaLiga. It is not simply: choose the man that will get all of the targets. You are in search of a choral choreography. What I need is a crew that goes for the sport from the primary minute, whatever the rating: we do not fall deep, we all the time hold taking dangers, hold urgent excessive. When we have now to defend we need to get the ball again as quick as we are able to. That’s the means we have now all the time performed since I’ve been right here, all the time. That is what I need the crew to do and I search for the gamers who finest interpret our concept of enjoying.”

It is an concept that’s non-negotiable, and inescapable too — proper there, of their ear, his grasp’s voice pursuing the gamers throughout the pitch.

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