Gavi the 'future' after becoming Spain's youngest ever player, says Luis Enrique

Barcelona tyro, 17, instrumental in 2-1 Nations League semi-final victory

Luis Enrique hailed Barcelona teenager Gavi as Spain's "future and present" after the midfielder became the national team's youngest ever player in Wednesday's Nations League win over Italy.

At 17 years and 62 days old, Gavi became Spain's youngest cap in 85 years when he to took the San Siro field for the 2-1 victory which put Spain in Sunday's final, ending the Azzurri's world record 37-match unbeaten run.

His national team coach is convinced not only that he has a long future with La Roja, but that he can slot in right now.

"He's a player who can play between the lines, doesn't lose ball, has good technique, and is physical," Luis Enrique told reporters.

"We knew what he would bring; personality, willingness to play, courage. Nothing is too much for him. He is a very complete player.

"He can be the future of this team, but he can also be its present too because he has the personality to play at this level."

Gavi broke the record held by Angel Zubieta Redondo, who donned the Spain jersey for the first time in a 1936 friendly against Czechoslovakia age 17 years and 284 days old.

He was named in the starting line-up for the match despite only making five La Liga appearances for Barca.

Match-winner Ferran Torres also praised the young tyro and predicted a bright future.

"He's young, and off the pitch he's quiet, almost timid and shy," said Torres, who scored both of Spain's goals.

"But we saw on the pitch what kind of player he can be."

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Torres expects to be available for Sunday’s final after limping off injured after his first-half brace in Milan.

Luis Enrique said Torres’ withdrawal early in the second period was a precautionary measure.

And the in-form 21-year-old – who now has 12 international goals in 21 outings following two assists from Mikel Oyarzabal – already has his sights set on helping his country lift silverware.

“We knew it was a special match, we fell in the semi-finals of the European Championship and what better way to beat them at home in another semi-final,” said Torres, according to Marca.

“I am happy for the team. I believe that perseverance and training make the results arrive.

“I had a few minor annoyances [with injury] but I’m already thinking about the final.”

Luis Enrique added: “I’m not sure how Ferran will be.

“He had a knock in the first half and another in the second half so we decided to take no risks.”

Updated: October 7th 2021, 4:33 AM
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