Luis Enrique: Busquets still vital to Spain
By Dom Farrell
5 September 2020, 13:28
Sergio Busquets remains one of Spain's most important players, head coach Luis Enrique believes.
The 32-year-old, who has made 116 international appearances, has had his worth called into question for club and country after a difficult season with Barcelona.
But Busquets produced a performance close to his assured best as Spain snatched a 1-1 draw in their Nations League opener against Germany in Stuttgart.
Not that he had any need to prove himself to his former Camp Nou boss.
"Busi is a player who does not need to speak much because his presence imposes respect," Luis Enrique said ahead of Sunday's game against Ukraine.
"But he is not here for what he contributes off the field, he is here for what he contributes on the pitch.
"He makes better or worse games, but he is one of most important footballers of the national team."
Thiago Alcantara shone alongside Busquets, completing 97 of 104 passes in the match, and joined Luis Enrique in giving a glowing assessment.
"It's a joy to see how he positions himself, how he manages the team," said Busquets' ex-Barca colleague.
"There is his presence, his game, his numbers for years ... to improve as a midfielder you must pay attention to him."
Busquets is increasingly an outlier in a youthful squad with Spain.
Ferran Torres, Oscar Rodriguez, Mikel Merino and Ansu Fati all made their debuts against Germany, with Barca teenager Fati becoming the second youngest full international in his country's history.
"His performance does not surprise me, because I have seen all his matches at Barca," Luis Enrique said of Fati.
"His tranquillity his maturity and his naturalness have really surprised me. He is a different player, I don't need to explain it to you because you already see him.
"His involvement in training and his maturity make it very easy for me as a coach."
Adama Traore could join the list of debutants from this international break after being cleared to join up with the Spain squad following his positive coronavirus test.
Nevertheless, Luis Enrique was keen not to be drawn on his plans for the Wolves winger.
"I would like all the players to be very happy, but I will decide the line-up with those who are more prepared," he added.
"It is possible that a few or many will remain in the team. And as for Adama Traore, we will see, but not until two hours before the game will we know the line-up."