Luis de la Fuente praises Xavi’s management of two key Barcelona players

New Spain head coach Luis de la Fuente will take charge of his first matches in the job next month, with La Roja set to take on Norway (25/03) and Scotland (28/03) in their first two fixtures of Euro 2024 qualification.

De la Fuente replaced Luis Enrique in December, with the former Barcelona boss being sacked following a disappointing 2022 World Cup campaign, which ended with a penalty shootout defeat to Morocco in the last 16.

De la Fuente spoke to MD about several players that could be in his first Spain squad, one of whom is Barcelona forward Ansu Fati, who has seen his first team starts limited under Xavi Hernandez this season. However, de la Fuente admitted that he is not worried about the 20-year-old’s situation, and expects his to show his worth soon.

“It is in a process of continuing to find and grow. He has to mature, personally and footballingly. When he regains confidence and security, we will see the best Ansu Fati. We haven’t seen the best version of Ansu yet. It won’t take long, it’s innate.”

De la Fuente also praised Xavi’s handling of his left back situation at Barcelona. Despite Jordi Alba reportedly being unhappy about his role at the club, the national team boss believes that the Barca head coach has done well with his distribution of playing time to both Alba and Alejandro Balde.

“(The competition) favours the footballer, favours the club and favours the national team. Competition is always good. I wish that all demarcations demanded that level of competence. I think it’s very healthy, I celebrate it and Xavi is managing it very well. With so many matches, everyone can participate a lot.”

De la Fuente will name his first Spain squad in just over a month’s time, and there is expected to be plenty of changes from Enrique’s squad from the World Cup. It remains to be seen what players from Barcelona and Real Madrid are selected.

Tags Alejandro Balde Barcelona Jordi Alba Luis de la Fuente Spain Xavi
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