Luis Enrique defends Eric Garcia selection for Spain

Through no fault of his own, Eric Garcia has become one of the most controversial names in Spanish football. A central defender, smaller than usual and not blessed with brilliant physicality, Garcia has been loudly called out for his mistakes over the course of the season. Despite making errors, including for Spain, Luis Enrique continues to place his trust in him.

At 21, he has already played under three Barcelona icons in Luis Enrique, Pep Guardiola and Xavi Hernandez. Not always a starter for Barcelona, his selection by Luis Enrique has drawn criticism with Real Madrid’s Nacho Fernandez and Villarreal’s Raul Albiol hoping for a place in the squad.

The debate on his place with La Roja was ramped up again after he made a mistake against the Czech Republic on Sunday. When asked about it in his pre-match press conference ahead of Spain’s match against Switzerland on Thursday, Luis Enrique was typically bullish.

“If you are a professional footballer you have to be prepared for everything and there are footballers that get journalists going. Eric is a marvellous player with the age and characteristics he has. All of these situations are unjust, because yes he committed an error but so has the 7, the 9, the 11.”

“There are certain errors that certain sectors like and that will make him stronger, Eric is a spectacular player and while I am manager and he continues at this level, he will continue coming to the national team.”

There is no love lost between ‘Lucho’ and those sectors of the press which he references. At the end of his answer he made it clear he believed in Eric as the best option to Marca.

“Every player must play their part, I know mine and Eric’s as well. If I could see two or three better players in his position, he wouldn’t come, but as I don’t see them…”

The debate is certainly an interesting one. The obvious weaknesses in Eric Garcia’s game become glaringly so when the opposition can exploit his team’s flaws. Yet when things are operating well, he looks like the perfect profile for his role in a possession-heavy team. Whether he can limit the former will likely determine whether he enjoys a career at the top level or must drop down.

Tags Barcelona Eric Garcia Luis Enrique Spain La Roja
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