De la Fuente ready for Spain challenge after succeeding Luis Enrique

By Sports Desk December 12, 2022

Luis de la Fuente confidently suggested there is no better coach to take charge of Spain after speaking for the first time since being announced as Luis Enrique's successor.

La Roja parted ways with their previous coach following their shock World Cup exit to Morocco in the last-16, on the back of a difficult Qatar 2022 campaign.

De la Fuente, who has coached Spain's Under-19, Under-21 and Under-23 teams over the past decade, was confirmed as his replacement, with the 61-year-old set to make his bow in Euro 2024 qualification next year.

Speaking at his official presentation, the former Athletic Bilbao defender marked out his credentials on why he is the right man to take charge and vowed to be flexible in how the country approaches its national team.

"I was a professional footballer for 15 years," he stated. "I have won titles. I have coached at international level in all age categories except the senior one.

"With all my humility and honesty, if there is someone who knows what the future of Spanish football is, it is me. You know who takes the reins of this team.

"There will be no negotiation about our model. I will try to provide nuances to improve it, interpret its evolution. We will not close our minds to anything."

De la Fuente confirmed he would not necessarily move on Spain's senior stalwarts to make way for younger players he has already coached, while he also paid tribute to his predecessor.

"I have had a very close relationship with Luis Enrique and I thank him," he added. "We have exchanged messages, and he congratulated me."

"You don't have to analyse anything about the World Cup. Luis Enrique's work has been extraordinary, but you can still miss getting a result.

"I count on the youngsters but I am also a fan of the veterans who have done great things. Sergio Busquets is the living history of football. If Sergio Ramos is in good shape, he can come too."

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