Spain captain Sergio Busquets said on Tuesday he was ready to channel his experience as the only remaining World Cup winner in the national team into helping his young team mates overcome their nerves at the tournament in Qatar.
A day before Spain open their 2022 campaign against Costa Rica, Busquets said he hoped to be a role model to the young players in the squad who include his Barcelona team mates Pedri, aged 19, and Gavi, 18.
“The World Cup is unique,” Busquets told a news conference. “It’s the biggest sporting event and sometimes the nerves get the better of you when you’re young and you don’t have much experience. I tell them we have to be faithful to our style of play and everything that we’ve been working on with our coach.”
Busquets was part of the Spain team that won the 2010 tournament in South Africa under then coach Vicente del Bosque.
The current manager Luis Enrique has brought in a new generation of players, including some who were in the side that reached the semi-finals of Euro 2020 last year when they were eliminated on penalties by eventual winners Italy.
Busquets said getting a win in Wednesday’s opening game against Costa Rica would help settle Spain’s still relatively inexperienced team, which is the third youngest in Qatar.
Ahead lies the challenges of facing Germany and Japan in Group E.
Luis Enrique, also speaking to reporters, said striker Alvaro Morata and defender Dani Carvajal both had colds which he attributed to the air conditioning in Qatar, but said they were both likely to be available to play on Wednesday.
The Spain coach also responded to media reports that questioned whether Valencia left back and captain Jose Gaya had an injury that was serious enough to justify being replaced in the squad by Barcelona’s Alejandro Balde.
“What my heart told me is to keep Gaya but then my mind tells me I should do the best for the team and the best for the team is, there’s no doubt about it, considering Gaya’s injury, to have two fully fit left backs before the World Cup,” Luis Enrique said.