Our Strength Is Unity, Says Spain's Pedri Ahead Of Euro 2024

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Wed 12 Jun 2024, 4:04 PM

Spain's dressing room is filled with leaders and their biggest asset at this month's European Championship will be the strong bonds between the players, midfielder Pedri said.

Spain's young and talented core of players have worked extensively with manager Luis de la Fuente, who was part of the national team's youth set-up between 2013-2022 before taking charge of the senior team.

"I think that these last few days we have talked about it, that the greatest asset we have is that we are a team, we are a family both on and off the field," Barcelona's Pedri told reporters on Tuesday.

"The leader is the team as a whole. There are many players that are captains that help us a lot, they act as leaders, but I think the big difference with all the teams is that we are a team and there is no leader who stands out from the rest."

Three-times champions Spain start their Euro 2024 campaign on June 15 against Croatia and also take on defending champions Italy and Albania in Group B.

"It's important to get off to a good start. But we've already seen that many teams have won a big tournament despite losing their first game," Pedri said.

"You don't have to be anxious about that game. It is clear that we are going to go out to win and we are not going to want to leave anything out on the pitch and above all, that, go out with everything.

"We are really looking forward to it, we are very young and we are really looking forward to it starting now."

Spain manager Luis de la Fuente had left Barcelona's 17-year-old defender Pau Cubarsi and midfielders Marcos Llorente and Aleix Garcia out of his 26-man squad .

Cubarsi's consistency and ability to play the ball out from the back made him one of the breakout players in LaLiga this season. Yet that was not enough to earn him a spot at Euro 2024 as De la Fuente decided to stick with a more seasoned group of centre backs in Robin Le Normand, Nacho Fernandez, Aymeric Laporte and Dani Vivian.

Former Manchester City defender Laporte, 30, has been one of the biggest question marks surrounding De la Fuente's squad since he fell out of favour with City manager Pep Guardiola and moved to Saudi Arabia's Al-Nassr last year.

After being left out of the Euro 2024 squad, Cubarsi now is expected to make Spain's Olympic selection that will compete in Paris after winning the silver medal at the Tokyo Games.

Former Newcastle United and Leicester City forward Ayoze Perez, who chipped in with a goal and an assist on his international debut at the age of 30 in Wednesday's 5-0 friendly win over Andorra, was one of the surprise names in a squad that will travel to Germany with eight attackers.

The other surprise was Barcelona's 21-year-old midfielder Fermin Lopez, who also made his debut on Wednesday and came off the bench to provide an assist and inject the same energy into Spain. He was one of the few bright spots in Barcelona's disappointing trophyless 2023-24 campaign.

He will join club team mate Pedri and Rodri, who helped City win a record fourth successive Premier League title, among a solid group of midfielders.

While they are not classed among the top favourites to win the tournament, and are in a tough group with Italy, Croatia and Albania, Spain's young stars could propel them far.


Khaleej Times

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