Luis Enrique tasked with finding Spain’s sweet spot between past and future

Enrique hails De Gea after victory over England

Enrique hails De Gea after victory over England

"I don't feel like the star", the Real Madrid player said. In early July, he was named Spain's new head coach after Fernando Hierro stepped down.

Even before Julen Lopetegui was lured away by Real Madrid on the eve of the World Cup, throwing their tournament into chaos, Spain's preparations had ended with a plodding 1-0 win over Tunisia and a 1-1 draw with Switzerland. A question from El Pais journalist, who asked about Spain's tactics against teams that defend deep, was not liked by Isco.

Gareth Southgate's men will play in their first match since the World Cup, where they reached the semi-finals.

Spain will play against England in the UEFA Nations League on Saturday.

"We have a great challenge ahead, both the coach and the players want to win again".

Now, Luis Enrique is in charge but he won't have the likes of Andres Iniesta and David Silva to call upon after they both retired from global football. "Luis Enrique is a coach who is known to be very strict in his demands and very focused on what he wants from his team".

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"We are very happy with him and we are excited about starting the important things which are the games so we can know what level we are at".

One of the biggest questions facing Spain right now is how, exactly, they replace Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta and David Silva following their worldwide retirements.

It was put to the La Roja captain that former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique had been hired to phase him out.

"I don't know what's going to happen in the future but that's a position I haven't had any doubts about", Enrique said.

Spain have had disappointing showings at their last three major tournaments since dominating the world game between 2008 and 2012 when they lifted back-to-back European Championship titles either side of their first World Cup triumph.

After the disappointment of the World Cup and with a number of key players no longer present in the dressing room, Luis Enrique will look to Valdes to help foster a strong team spirit and a winning mentality.

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