Luis Enrique labelled Spain captain Sergio Ramos as a “chosen one” who has surpassed all expectations during the coach’s first international meet-up.
Spain get the Luis Enrique era started against England at Wembley in the Nations League on Saturday, with the former Barca coach succeeding Julen Lopetegui following his pre-World Cup dismissal.
Although Spain have lost the likes of Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique to international retirement since their underwhelming campaign in Russia, Luis Enrique is delighted to be able to call upon Ramos.
The Real Madrid defender may have been a regular adversary of Luis Enrique during the coach’s time in charge at Camp Nou, but that is not clouding the 48-year-old’s opinion of the centre-back.
“Being a captain in the national team is because, among internationals available, you are the player with the most personality team,” Luis Enrique a media conference.
“When you see him [Ramos] compete, he understands that he is a chosen one, he already knew that.
“He is a great leader in any situation, a person who drags in and out. I am delighted with him. I expected a very high level, but in this case he has surpassed [my expectations].”
Ramos’ leadership qualities has not been the only thing to take Luis Enrique by surprise this week – he has also been astonished by his team’s collective attitude.
“It was a spectacular week,” he added.
“I cannot wait for it [the match]. I have no doubts about the XI playing tomorrow, but I have been surprised – for the better – by things that I have seen.
“I’ve seen such great attitude. It’s one thing to see them from the outside and another to see how they react to what you ask them in training. I’m optimistic and I’m excited to see them compete.”