Luis Enrique rattling cages with controversial call ahead of England game

first_img Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade 3 smart causal Jordi Alba was reminded of that this month. When the first Spain squad under the new coach was announced last week ahead of the England game, his name was a glaring absence. For the avoidance of doubt: Alba is fit, playing well for Barcelona, and at 29, still has at least one tournament left in him. He is also Spain’s best left-back by some margin.It is reasonable to ask why one of Spain’s best players has been omitted from Luis Enrique’s group – a clear statement of his intent going forward. We don’t have a direct answer because the national team boss refused to take questions on the matter at his press conference when naming the squad, but the fact that Alba’s time under him at Barça ended on the bench has not gone unnoticed in Spain.Nor has the fact that some of Alba’s past comments on his relationship with the manager were not exactly glowing. The first arrived once it was confirmed there would be a change in coach at Barcelona in 2017. “Here I have the complete confidence of the boss, which I take as a compliment and gives me confidence – something I don’t have at Barça and would perhaps like to,” the defender said, ironically enough while on Spain duty at the time. REVEALED Jordi Alba has won 66 caps for Spain and won Euro 2012 Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? RANKED Best clips, calls and talkSPORT moments of 2019, feat Hearn, McCoist and more possible standings Every Championship club’s best signing of the decade, including Taarabt and Dack Falter, and in particular if that is through individual errors from the left side of the back-line, and the new man in charge will have created a rod for his own back that gives some of the people who held those famous grudges with him over the years the perfect ammunition to take aim and question his judgement only weeks into the job.Regardless, this isn’t the last time Luis Enrique will make a call that turns heads and defies perceived wisdom. A man who doesn’t shy from controversial decisions, Spain knew what they were getting when the ex Barça man was put in charge. Intensity, dedication, bravery and just occasionally, fury. You’re either with him or against him. And when you’re against him he won’t forget it.Follow @LeeRoden89 on Twitter here. BEST OF silverware When Ernesto Valverde took over at the Camp Nou last summer the subject reared its head again. “I feel a lot better. I’m happy and playing, which for some time wasn’t the case,” he said after returning to the Blaugrana starting XI.The suspicion in Spain is that Luis Enrique’s decision to snub Alba this month is a form of payback for the player having the audacity to challenge his team selection at Barcelona. We can only speculate on whether that is true given the impossibility of receiving a direct response from the national team boss, but as any journalist who has been unfortunate enough to ask the manager something he doesn’t like at a press conference already knows, grudges come easily. Forgiveness, not so much.The big call could prove to be a self-defeating move. Since taking the Spain job Luis Enrique has made a clear effort to prove he is a reasonable, fair coach, in part because of the baggage he has when it comes to Real Madrid (who account for six of the 24 players in La Roja’s squad). For some context: this is a man who only a year ago, while still Barça boss, was asked about Gerard Piqué criticising Los Blancos and replied bluntly “as I’m more radical than Piqué, it’s best I don’t answer”.Omitting Alba has already eaten away at a small portion of the benefit of the doubt the coach has worked to build up regarding his stewardship of the national team. In a column in Marca, Emilio Contreras reacted to the decision by saying “if Alba’s isn’t there, the best aren’t there”. MONEY Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move center_img highlights Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade impact ADVICE England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won “His replacements, José Luis Gayà and Marcos Alonso, are well behind him,” he added.That sentiment was echoed by Diego Torres in El Pais, who noted that “few full-backs in the world can do what Alba and Dani Carvajal can. Unless Luis Enrique is planning something different, the absence of Alba creates a problem needing solved”.To his credit (or perhaps to the credit of the people advising him), Alba’s public reaction to a lack of Spain action this week was reconciliatory.  “Clearly I want to join up with the national team but the coach has taken a decision and you have to respect it. I never said a bad word about him. I think he’s a great coach,” the 29-year-old explained.For the defender, who has a sizeable temper of his own, and is no doubt hurting as he watches team-mates depart for Wembley while he remains in Catalonia, it was a tempered and likely wise move.How the story develops in the short term will be defined by how Spain do in London on Saturday, then when they host World Cup runners-up Croatia in Elche a few days later. Show solidity in defence and the same constant threat from the left-flank as they do when Alba plays, and Luis Enrique’s decision will be vindicated as one taken on a purely footballing basis, for the better of the team. Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade Luis Enrique was appointed Spain manager in July A versatile, combative attacker with an eye for goal and a temper to match. As a player Luis Enrique was the kind of footballer who you walk to the end of the Earth with if he was on your team, but despised to an equal degree if he wasn’t.As a coach a similar dichotomy can be seen. If he thinks his team are being unjustly criticised, Enrique will defend his players to the death with plenty of that aforementioned fire and fury. Once he thinks you aren’t on his team however, the drop can be sudden, and harsh. Most popular football news Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions 3 How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures 3 The pair have worked together before when the manager was in charge of Barcelona last_img

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