Luis Enrique returns: Spain's Moreno newbies who can star at Euro 2020

By Ben Spratt 20 November 2019 42
Luis Enrique returns: Spain's Moreno newbies who can star at Euro 2020

Luis Enrique has returned as Spain head coach, replacing Robert Moreno at the helm heading into Euro 2020.

The former Barcelona coach stepped away from his role earlier this year as his young daughter Xana battled bone cancer. She died in August.

Former assistant Moreno took on the job in his place, but Luis Enrique is now back in charge, taking over a Spain team arguably in better shape than the one he left.

Qualification for Euro 2020 is clinched, while Moreno brought in a number of new faces - including members of Spain's successful European Under-21 Championship side.

Luis Enrique would do well to note the progress under Moreno, and we have picked out five breakthrough stars who can have a role to play at next year's finals and beyond.


FABIAN RUIZ

Arguably the outstanding player of that European Under-21 Championship team, Napoli midfielder Fabian had already caught Luis Enrique's attention and was called up in March. It was under Moreno that he established himself, though, making six appearances since his June debut. Fabian idolised Xavi as a child and he looks capable of running the midfield at the Euros.

PABLO SARABIA

Slightly older than some of the new faces at 27, Sarabia was made to wait until after his big move to Paris Saint-Germain in July for a first call-up. It will not be easy to hold down a place at PSG and nor has a fledgling international career been straightforward, but injuries saw Sarabia, an exciting, effective creator, recalled this month and he scored against Malta.

DANI OLMO

Winger Olmo left Barcelona's academy for Dinamo Zagreb in 2014 but, still just 21, looks all the better for the first-team opportunities. He starred for the Under-21s and then scored three minutes into his senior debut. Olmo is already fielding questions on a potential return to Barca and, whether now or in the future, looks set to be a Spain regular.

MIKEL OYARZABAL

Although 22-year-old Oyarzabal had featured once for Spain before Moreno took charge, he never featured under Luis Enrique - earning his sole cap for Vicente del Bosque ahead of Euro 2016, for which he did not make the squad. After a couple of seasons scoring regularly in LaLiga, however, Oyarzabal is back in the mix and opened his international account against Sweden in June.

GERARD MORENO

Sarabia may have been made to wait for senior recognition, but Gerard - also 27 - is a true late bloomer. Uncapped at youth level, the Villarreal striker debuted in October and scored three times across the November international break. Gerard has netted eight goals in LaLiga already this season and will hope to retain his form with the Euros approaching fast.

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