Luis Enrique explains decision to send Jose Gaya home from World Cup

There has been one key controversy dominating the build-up to the Spanish World Cup opener against Costa Rica, the absence of Jose Gaya.

The Valencia left-back suffered a light ankle sprain in training last Wednesday and was thought to be sufficiently fit for their second group game against Germany on Sunday. In a shock decision though, Gaya was sent home and Barcelona’s Alejandro Balde was called up in Gaya’s place. Upon returning to Spain, Gaya underwent tests which confirmed that the injury would have kept him out for just 7-10 days, according to them. It heaped criticism on Luis Enrique and the Spain side for sending him home.

Ahead of their match with Costa Rica, Luis Enrique explained his decision.

“I have to make decisions. If it were down to my heart, he would still be here, but I have to take those decisions head on. It was an injury of 10-15 days and he couldn’t play two games. With the responsibility of the coach of the whole country, I have to do the best for the team.”

“Left back is the only position I can’t wait for anyone. There is no one who can adapt to what we ask for. If it were in another position, the player would be here. But they are two specific guys that have the characteristics to play there. Jose Gaya is a phenomenon, a guy who I get on with brilliantly. I feel it in my soul, I have to put the team before my feelings.”

Perhaps the key information is that the Spain medical team saw it as an injury of 10-15 days rather than 7-10, which makes the difference for at least one and potentially two games.

Tags 2022 World Cup Jose Gaya Luis Enrique Spain La Roja
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