Teenager Ansu Fati was called up for the Spanish national team again on Monday after a long injury absence.
Spain manager Luis Enrique has included the 19-year-old Barcelona striker in the list of 25 players selected for the four Nations League matches that ‘La Roja’ will play in June.
Fati hasn’t played for Spain since a Nations League game against Ukraine in October 2020. He was marred by knee and muscle injuries and only recently returned to the squad. Barcelona. He scored one goal in five Spanish league appearances in May, all coming off the bench.
“Ansu Fati is a special case. We are not going to take any risks with him,” said Luis Enrique. “He hasn’t played much lately. We want to see him train and see him regain his confidence. He’s a very important player and we want him to play at his best again.”
Born in Guinea-Bissau, Fati was touted as one of Spain’s most promising players but struggled to live up to expectations due to injuries. He was due to be part of Spain’s European Championship squad in 2020 but was eventually left out after the competition was delayed due to the pandemic and took place while he was still recovering from one of his wounds.
Real Madrid striker Marco Asensio was also back in the national team, who last played for Spain in the team’s 6-0 loss to Germany in the Nations League in November 2020.
“It’s true that he doesn’t often play with his club, but what’s important is what he does here with us,” said Luis Enrique.
Another teenager included in the squad again was 17-year-old Barcelona midfielder Gavi Páez. Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcántara returned after being out of the squad since last year’s Euro 2020, and Sergio Busquets was back after missing the last call through injury.
Thiago was injured in Liverpool’s last Premier League game on Sunday, but Luis Enrique says it doesn’t look like the injury is serious.
Pedri González, Yeremy Pino, Gerard Moreno and Mikel Oyarzabal are among the players who missed a chance to make the roster due to injuries.
Defender José Luis Gayà, a regular under Luis Enrique, was left out, as was goalkeeper David de Gea, who had already lost his place in the national team.
Spain were finalists in the Nations League last season, losing to France.
His first game in Group 2 this year will be in Seville on June 2 against Portugal, the first Nations League champions in 2019.
Spain will then face the Czech Republic in Prague three days later and travel to Switzerland on June 9. Spain’s last match will be at home to the Czech Republic on June 12 in Malaga.
The preparation of the national team will start on May 30 in Madrid.
Goalkeepers: Unai Simón (Athletic Bilbao), Robert Sánchez (Brighton), David Raya (Brentford)
Defenders: Iñigo Martínez (Athletic Bilbao), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Eric García (Barcelona), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), César Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Marcos Alonso ( Chelsea)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Gavi Páez (Barcelona), Koke Resurrección (Atlético Madrid), Marcos Llorente (Atlético Madrid), Rodri (Manchester City), Thiago Alcántara (Liverpool), Carlos Soler (Valencia)
Forwards: Álvaro Morata (Juventus), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Raúl de Tomás (Espanyol), Dani Olmo (Leipzig), Pablo Sarabia (Sporting Lisbon), Ansu Fati (Barcelona), Ferran Torres (Barcelona)
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