After a lengthy injury layoff, teenager Ansu Fati was recalled to Spain’s national squad on Monday.
The 19-year-old Barcelona attacker was included in Spain coach Luis Enrique’s roster of 25 players for the four Nations League matches “La Roja” will play in June.
Fati hasn’t appeared for Spain since an October 2020 Nations League match against Ukraine. He had knee and muscular issues and had just recently returned to the Barcelona team. In May, he scored one goal in five Spanish league games, all as a substitute.
“Ansu Fati is an outlier. “We’re not going to take any chances with him,” Luis Enrique said. “He hasn’t played much lately.” We’d want to see him practice and restore his confidence. He’s a vital player for us, and we want him to be at his best again.”
Fati, who was born in Guinea-Bissau, was regarded as one of Spain’s most promising players, but he failed to live up to expectations due to injuries. He was supposed to join Spain’s European Championship team in 2020 but was forced to withdraw as the tournament was postponed due to the pandemic and took place while he was still healing from one of his injuries.
Real Madrid attacker Marco Asensio returned to the national squad after missing the side’s 6-0 Nations League victory against Germany in November 2020.
“It’s true that he doesn’t play much for his club, but what matters is what he does here with us,” Luis Enrique said.
Gavi Páez, a 17-year-old Barcelona midfielder, was also included in the team. Thiago Alcántara of Liverpool returned to the team after missing Euro 2020 last year, while Sergio Busquets returned after missing the previous call-up due to injury.
Thiago was hurt in Liverpool’s last Premier League encounter on Sunday, but Luis Enrique stated the injury did not look to be severe.
Pedri González, Yeremy Pino, Gerard Moreno, and Mikel Oyarzabal were among the players who did not make the roster due to injury.
Defender José Luis Gayà, a regular under Luis Enrique, was omitted, as was goalkeeper David de Gea, who had previously been pushed out of the national squad.
Last season, Spain reached the Nations League finals before falling to France.
Its first Group 2 encounter this year will be on June 2 in Seville against Portugal, the first Nations League champion in 2019.
Three days later, Spain will play the Czech Republic in Prague, followed by a visit to Switzerland on June 9. Spain’s last match will be at Málaga on June 12 against the Czech Republic.
The preparations for the national team will begin on May 30 in Madrid.
Goalkeepers: Unai Simón (Athletic Bilbao), Robert Sánchez (Brighton), David Raya (Brentford)
Defenders: Iñigo Martínez (Athletic Bilbao), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Eric García (Barcelona), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), César Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Gavi Páez (Barcelona), Koke Resurrección (Atlético Madrid), Marcos Llorente (Atlético Madrid), Rodri (Manchester City), Thiago Alcántara (Liverpool), Carlos Soler (Valencia)
Forwards: Álvaro Morata (Juventus), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Raúl de Tomás (Espanyol), Dani Olmo (Leipzig), Pablo Sarabia (Sporting Lisbon), Ansu Fati (Barcelona), Ferran Torres (Barcelona)