Gavi can ‘define an era’ for Spain, claims head coach Luis Enrique, but says they must stay ‘calm’ about Barcelona’s teen sensation despite being the third youngest goalscorer in World Cup history
Spain coach Luis Enrique has claimed that midfield star Gavi can ‘define an era’ after the 18-year-old’s impressive World Cup debut.
Enrique’s decision to call Gavi up for national duty in October last year raised some eyebrows, especially as it came just two months after his Barca debut, but the Spaniard now feels justified as the midfielder continues to shine.
Gavi could ‘define an era’ for Spain, coach Luis Enrique claimed, after his goal on Wednesday
In Enrique’s pre-match press conference, he said: ‘The most surprising thing for everyone is that someone, at 18 years and 100 days old, has that amount of self-confidence.
‘You have to look at the intelligence he has in his positioning, how he dominates the technical aspects of football, and his physical capacity despite being 18. We have to stay calm, he’s 18, but he can define an era.’
Gavi has proven his value to Spain, who know a win against Germany at the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday will almost certainly send them through to the knockout phase.
Enrique’s side will need to manage expectations, despite a record-breaking win over Costa Rica on Wednesday.
Enrique said: ‘You always hope for the best, but maybe I didn’t expect such a potent version [of the team]. I’m better at dealing with problems. I’m a idiot like that.’
Enrique knows the problems Germany could pose having come up against them in 1994
The problems could come from Germany, who are reeling from their shock 2-1 defeat to Japan. Enrique knows the depth Sunday’s opponents bring with their four World Cup trophy wins, and from his own experience lining up against them at the World Cup 28 years ago.
‘You look at their shirt and see four stars,’ Enrique said. ‘I played against them in 1994 and their physical level was incredible… If anyone knows how to compete, it’s Germany. Their history is there and they have world-class players.’
Gavi has made 14 appearances for Spain in a little over 12 months, scoring three goals this year against the Czech Republic, Jordan, and then the fifth of the seven making up the rout of Costa Rica.
He also won France Football’s Kopa Trophy for footballers under the age of 21, and was selected as Golden Boy by European sports journalists, an honour earned by Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe and Raheem Sterling in recent years.
The 18-year-old’s performances for Barcelona and Spain have won him countless accolades