In the run-up to England v Spain, after every single training session, Sergio Ramos has stayed behind on the pitch, challenging one or other of his team-mates to a dead-ball challenge. On Monday he stayed out with Iago Aspas, with both attempting to hit the cross-bar from outside the area. Thiago, Saúl and Morata have also been challenged by the Real Madrid captain, and Ramos has put all three Spain goalkeepers - De Gea, Kepa and Pau - to the test from the penalty spot in his late sessions.
Luis Enrique has taken note and understood the message: Sergio Ramos wants to take the penalties for Spain, just as he now does for Real Madrid, and possibly also play a key role in dead-ball situations too.
Ramos looks to take spot-kicks for Spain
The new Spain coach has to say who he’ll pick for these duties. With Del Bosque it was Xavi or Xabi Alonso who took the free-kicks, but Villa was responsible for the penalties. With Lopetegui, Silva was in charge of free-kicks, and he took the penalties too until Hierro decided to give the job to Sergio Ramos, who’s now taking them for Real Madrid since Cristiano Ronaldo left for Juventus.
Ramos experienced and full of character
Everything points to Luis Enrique continuing with Sergio Ramos taking the spot-kicks - he wants an experienced player with a good dose of personality to be responsible for the job and thinks Ramos satisfies both criteria. The fact the defender is taking them for Real Madrid, and has been enthusiastically practicing with the Spain set-up are also major points in his favour.
Luis Enrique is less convinced about free-kicks though. Sergio Ramos is better at finishing moves in the box than he is at sending balls in, but the Spain coach needs to pick someone to do the job, with no Iniesta or Silva to call upon…