A couple of meters away, behind some high-competition sports glasses, Luis Enrique was attentively following this Monday the round that opened the training of the national team with a view to the Eurocup, in which it will be released on June 14 against Sweden, in The Charterhouse. In the absence of the ten international members of the four clubs that have played in the European finals, 16 players participated in the first session of a rookie team in the big events, although Adama Traoré did preventive work due to muscle discomfort. The challenge for the coach is enormous. He will have to face the competition with the newest Spain since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when Vicente del Bosque gathered a team with an average age of 25.9 years for the 26 of the current group.
Only England, among the great favorites, has a newer squad. Of those cited in the 33-player pre-list drawn up by Gareth Southgate – this Tuesday he will make the cut – the English average 23.6 years of age, although in flight hours in the major national team competitions they surpass the Spanish. Southgate has 11 players who have participated in at least one World Cup or one European Championship. For Spain, David de Gea, Jordi Alba, César Azpilicueta, Koke, Thiago Alcántara, Sergio Busquets (the only ones who survive from the 2018 World Cup) and Morata are the hardened in one of the two great national team tournaments. Luis Enrique has prepared a list according to the generational change that is imposed and in which there were not so many players from a great championship. Since José Antonio Camacho only repeated six players for the 2002 World Cup compared to Euro 2000, there has not been a revolution of this magnitude.
France, current world champion (29 years on average); Portugal (27), defending the 2016 title; the attractive Belgium (28.7); and the everlasting Germany (27) have tougher skin than this Spanish team. All of them exceed the ten members already battered in some of the two great national team tournaments.
The absence of Sergio Ramos further amplifies the feeling that the majority of the group chosen by Luis Enrique will have to learn while competing in a highly demanding tournament such as a European Championship. Without the captain, the leadership points to Sergio Busquets, the only summoned who exceeds a hundred internationals (123), and together with Jordi Alba (72) the only two who exceed 50. Koke (49) and De Gea (45 ) are the closest to the fifty national team matches.
With this fledgling squad, Luis Enrique will also have to assume greater leadership if possible. The coach has the company ahead of rehabilitating the image and the competitiveness of the team, sheared over and over again since she was proclaimed European champion in 2012. Before the debut against Sweden, the coach has planned two weeks of demanding tactical training for try to refine his daring idea of the game, the most solid that the national team has shown in its two stages. His ancestry on a more tame squad by age, based on what he was as a player, his achievements on the Barça bench and a winning and demanding character, will be essential for the players to end up rounding a script where there is no room for speculation. Luis Enrique has set an offensive and risky idea and these 14 days before his debut will give him an idea of which players have ended up assimilating and interpreting it better.
The ups and downs, in the game and in the results, have occurred in the two periods of Luis Enrique as coach. This European Championship is also for the Asturian coach his first major competition on the bench at La Roja.