I was speaking with a friend of mine yesterday about Sergio Ramos playing with the Spanish national team and it reminded me of the joke about the two Basques who went out early to pick mushrooms. When deep in the woods, one pointed to the other and claimed: "Look, a Rolex". The other sternly replied, "focus, Patxi, we're here to pick mushrooms". Ramos seems to be hellbent on scoring, so much that he lets his defensive responsibilities slip. He's now bagged 16 with Spain and is still some way off the record of 29 held by Fernando Hierro. Missing in action from the three goals scored by England to then bag a late consolation goal in the 97th minute is bad business in my book and this is what we witnessed on Monday night in Seville.
Solid football teams, they say, are built from the back. Luis Enrique now has a month to look for a solution and impart that to his squad. Monday's first half against England was a horror-show and not one that can be papered over with his: “I was wonderful at half-time" quip as an England team missing plenty of key players sliced through the Spanish defense with such an alarming ease. Ramos wasn't the only player at fault. The rest of the back line were not at the races and that includes Marcos Alonso, the player playing in the position we all feel Jordi Alba should be in. I'd rather see this line of decision making from the Asturian coach rather than listen to his own personal brand of humour.
One final thought on Ramos. He is a high standing and highly respected captain, that also entails a degree of responsibility. He has been a part of the most successful period we have witnessed with the national team winning both the highest awards on a continental and global level. Having said that, when Spain won these trophies he was just another member of the squad, just another one of the guys. We've seen the likes of Xavi, Torres, Puyol, Villa and Iniesta call time of their international careers and now Ramos is the veteran of the current Spain squad. This means he cannot just abandon his station in the middle of a game as we saw on Monday and I'm not sure if Luis Enrique would have the daring to challenge him over that. The Camas born player needs to find his focus when wearing the red shirt of Spain and that is only something he can he put right.