Spain’s midfield is undoubtedly their strength at the World Cup and has been the base of their game for around 15 years at this point. Yet going into the tournament in Qatar, it is fair to say that there are no guarantees on what that midfield would be.
Pedri and Sergio Busquets seem to be the most likely options in the middle, yet the third part of Luis Enrique’s trio is up for grabs. Any one of Gavi, Marcos Llorente or Koke Resurreccion could occupy the role, all offering different interpretations of it.
Another option is Manchester City’s Rodri. Traditionally the debate is framed as one of Busquets or Rodri, with both playing more of a single pivot role for their clubs.
However, speaking to Sport in a press conference today in Jordan, Rodri explained that in his mind, they could work together.
“We are two great players, we compete for a position, but we can both play together.”
“It is a decision for the coach. Intelligent players always understand each other on the field and I have no doubt that should there be games where the coach will plays us together, we would win in many aspects.”
His final comment was a particularly salient observation.
“With Busi and Xabi Alonso we won a World Cup.”
He also admitted he would be open to playing in defence too. Rodri started Spain’s last competitive match against Portugal ahead of Busquets, but was shifted to central defence after Busquets came on.
“I am open to everything. I have played a lot in my team and I can adapt perfectly, I think I am physically prepared, I felt good against Portugal and what I want is to play, and that is how I have communicated it to the boss.”
Many wondered if Spain were too conservative in the 2010 World Cup, with Vicente del Bosque opting for both Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets to anchor the midfield. That version of La Roja conceded rarely, but Luis Enrique is unlikely to select a team that he feels is playing with the handbreak on.