SEVILLE (Reuters) - Spain coach Luis Enrique chose not to reveal who would be his goalkeeper in Tuesday’s UEFA Nations League decider against Germany, saying all three of his keepers had what it takes to help his team over the line.
Spain must beat Germany in order to win League A4 and progress to next year’s Final Four tournament.
But while their opponents can count on the assured presence of captain Manuel Neuer, uncertainty surrounds Spain’s goalkeeping situation.
“I have decided who the goalkeeper will be but I don’t tell the players who is going to play until an hour and a half before the game,” Luis Enrique told a news conference on Monday.
With Kepa Arrizabalaga no longer getting regular action for Chelsea and David de Gea underperforming for Manchester United and Spain for some time, the relatively inexperienced Unai Simon of Athletic Bilbao has played the last two internationals.
Simon looked uncomfortable on the ball in last week’s 1-1 draw in a friendly against the Netherlands, while he made a blunder in Saturday’s 1-1 Nations League draw with Switzerland and was only spared embarrassment by Sergio Ramos making a goalline clearance.
“Unai has a very high level and so do Kepa and David de Gea, and we just have to pick one of them,” added the coach.
“We have several factors in mind when thinking about our goalkeeper, they have to be able to play out from the back, be strong in the air and cover our defensive line when we are pressing our opponents.”
In his first two seasons as Barcelona coach, Luis Enrique favoured Claudio Bravo in La Liga matches and Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the Copa del Rey and Champions League.
He reiterated he likes to keep goalkeepers on their toes, adding that he did not know who would be his number one for next year’s rescheduled European Championship.
“I’ve always felt that I had three or four goalkeepers who had what it takes to be number one. I don’t know what will happen in the future, it will depend on how they perform. But I cannot narrow my options and only have one goalkeeper,” he said.
“Since I’ve been a coach I’ve always felt that you can change your goalkeepers around. A goalkeeper is just like any other player and he always has to be ready to help the team.”
Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Pritha Sarkar
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