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Four-goals-a-game Luis Enrique


The Spanish national team continues to get recognition under new manager Luis Enrique. Last night he oversaw a 1-4 win in Wales, a lesser team, it is true, and lesser still without Bale, but that shouldn't take away from the scoreline. In line with his predecessors, Luis Enrique took advantage of the friendly game to give some pitch-time to those in the squad that would normally find themselves on the bench. That is not something that gives me great pleasure, but since we won 1-4 there can be little complaint. We can also celebrate the return of Alcácer, an excellent striker at Valencia, who was then unsuccessful during his years at Barça, where he joined the queue behind Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar. He has now reignited his career in Dortmund and thanks to that we have our goalscorer back.

Paco Alcacer celebrates.
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Paco Alcacer celebrates.Dan MullanGetty Images

Rodrigo, not Rodri, for Busquets mantle

Last night we also saw the progression being made by Rodri, or so he was called before. Now he prefers to go by the name of Rodrigo, meaning we'll have to refer to him as Rodrigo H, or Rodrigo Hernández, to distinguish him from Rodrigo M, or Rodrigo Moreno, the Valencian striker who was yesterday given just nine minutes at the end. The fact is that the artist formerly known as Rodri (why does he not like it?) had a great game, in a position where we really need back-up for the superb Busquets, who has been a stalwart there for years, but who is already in need, both for club and country, of someone with whom to share minutes and responsibilities. Well, it would appear clear that for Spain there is already that cover.

Suso Fernandez holds off Jazz Richards of Wales.
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Suso Fernandez holds off Jazz Richards of Wales.Dan MullanGetty Images

Suso, Saúl, Ceballos

We also got to see a finely tuned Suso, an always assured Saúl, and a quickly developing Ceballos, emerging as an important player for both Lopetegui and Luis Enrique. Also returning was Albiol, after such a long time, and Bartra, following a year out, while Jonny and Kepa debuted with half a game. Everything fell into place, giving off a feeling of harmony and with a great final result, a 1-4 that will push La Roja up the FIFA rankings. A tasty hors d'oeuvre ahead of the appetising main course of Spain vs England in the Villamarín, in the well-conceived Nations League, one in which everything is going so well for the moment.