As he did in March, Spain head coach Luis Enrique left David de Gea out of the team, picking instead Athletic Bilbao’s Unai Simon as the No.1, with Robert Sanchez (Brighton) and David Raya (Brentford) as the back-ups.
Speaking at a press conference, the manager explained his thinking in what seemed to be quite a pointed message to De Gea.
“I look to have three starting goalkeepers and I think that right now I have them,” Luis Enrique said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
“Honestly. I wouldn’t have an issue with any of the three of them starting. A goalkeeper should start the play and generate the first superiority, they must dominate the aerial play.
“I need a goalkeeper that transmits peace and calmness to me, that doesn’t mean they won’t make mistakes, errors are part of football. What they generate I like a lot.”
While De Gea is a top-class shot-stopper, the distribution was never his strongest quality, while questions also remain over his aerial dominance.
The 31-year-old is already a finished article, and it’s hard to see him changing his style to Luis Enrique’s liking. That would mean De Gea is unlikely to play for Spain again as long as the head coach remains in place.
Curiously, Luis Enrique was one of the options Man United considered as their next permanent manager earlier this year. De Gea should be happy the club went for Erik ten Hag instead.