Barcelona forward Ansu Fati has been warned by Spain coach Luis Enrique he faces being left out of La Roja’s World Cup squad if he isn’t playing more often at club level.
Enrique opted not to include Fati in his squad for Spain’s UEFA Nations League games against Switzerland and Portugal this month, with the 19-year-old last called up in June when he didn’t actually get onto the pitch.
Fati has two goals and two assists to his name in La Liga so far this season, but Barça’s number 10 has had all his domestic minutes from the bench – his sole start in 2022/23 has been in the Champions League against Czech side Viktoria Plzen.
The teenager missed most of last season with a hamstring injury after only just returning from a long-term knee problem that had ended his 2020/21 campaign in November 2020.
It is understandable that Barça coach Xavi is taking additional care with Fati owing to his injury record – Mundo Deportivo has even reported that Xavi is keeping Fati close to him to prevent him from becoming discouraged over his careful reintroduction.
But to command a place with Spain now, Enrique has insisted he needs to be playing more, although he hasn’t closed the door on heading to Qatar in November.
“Those who haven't come know me perfectly and know they can come back. I need to see Ansu Fati play for Barça,” the Spain boss explained.