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What England can expect from Spain under former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique

England and Spain square off in a Nations League match.

Sport360 staff 2018/09/07

England begin their post-World Cup fixtures with a Nations League match against Spain.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at La Roja ahead of Saturday’s game at Wembley.

FORM

Spain suffered a shock early exit from the World Cup after getting knocked out by hosts Russia in the last-16 this summer, following on from their 2014 group-stage disappointment. They played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Portugal before beating Iran 1-0 and drawing 2-2 with Morocco unconvincingly.

Fernando Hierro, who has since been replaced by Luis Enrique, then saw his side defeated on penalties by a confident Russian side.

MANAGER

After sacking Julien Lopetegui two days before their first World Cup game and naming the director of football Hierro as his replacement, Spain now turn to Enrique in order to get the best out of their star-studded squad.

The former Barcelona boss has already had to quash rumours of a problem between him and captain Sergio Ramos while he has dropped Jordi Alba from the squad entirely.

TACTICS

New boss Enrique is expected to continue Spain’s tradition of playing possession football but he is likely to employ a more aggressive, faster style to La Roja’s play. Spain, like Barcelona did under Enrique, will play in tighter spaces and be more direct when on the counter.

Similarly to the Catalan outfit, Enrique’s side will also rely on individual moments of brilliance from the likes of Marcos Asensio, Isco and Suso.

PLAYERS

Marcos Alonso joins three other Chelsea players in the squad and his call-up comes alongside the expectancy that Spain will play on the front foot. Alonso is capable of playing as a wing-back and he may be given this role even though Spain will adopt a back four.

The only other Premier League player in the squad is Manchester United’s David De Gea, while Suso and Raul Albiol are Serie A’s only representatives and Thiago is the sole Bundesliga man. The rest ply their trade in their home country.

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