Why did Luis Enrique call up Nico Williams ahead of the World Cup?
Luis Enrique has called up the youngest of the Williams brothers to prevent Ghana from capping him, as the Black Stars are set to do with Iñaki.
Luis Enrique has called up Nico Williams for Spain during the latest international break to prevent Ghana from snapping the 20-year-old Athletic winger up for the World Cup, as the Black Stars have done with his older brother, Athletic forward Iñaki. It seems certain that the younger of the two Williams brothers will make his debut in one of Spain’s two Nations League fixtures, either against Switzerland in Zaragoza or Portugal in Braga.
As soon as Nico makes his official debut for Spain, no other national federation can make an approach. The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) does not want to let another promising young player represent another country, as is now the case with Iñaki, who was included in Vicente del Bosque’s pre-tournament squad for the 2016 European Championship but only made one substitute appearance, in a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina, leaving his international registration open. Ghana have now called up the elder Williams brother for their friendlies against Brazil and Nicaragua.
Nico Williams and Borja Iglesias new faces in Spain squad
Nico Williams’ call-up has also been influenced by the number of injuries Spain have in the attacking positions going into the international break. The absences of Mikel Oyarzabal, Dani Olmo and Gerard Moreno have opened a gap and one last chance to book a seat on the plane to the World Cup.
The same is true of in-form Betis forward Borja “The Panda” Iglesias, another uncapped player to make Luis Enrique’s list. In both cases the Spain manager has taken into account the qualities that each will bring to his squad. In the case of Iglesias, his reliability in the area, and in the case of Nico his verticality and speed.