Joe Bookbinder brings us a Hypothetical XI comprised of Premier League Spaniards…
There is nothing new in the fact that this generation of Spanish footballers represents a decent bunch of players. In fact, some may go as far as to argue they are a “Golden generation”. Best in Europe? Yes. Best in the World? Probably. The general rule, tried, tested and accepted is that if you do not play for Barcelona or Real Madrid you have very little chance of representing your country. If you play outside of Spain altogether your chances are further diminished.
So spare a thought for the just-above-average motley crew of Spanish players who lighten up the Premier League every weekend. Playing the in vogue 4-2-3-1 this team would a force to be reckoned with come every other June/July.
Goalkeepers – The ever improving David De Gea is deservedly winning the critics around, his ability is plain for all to see after the British Football Intelligentsia got their knickers in a twist about a few missed punches. Alternatively, Pepe Reina is a safe pair of hands, and this season apart, has been one of Liverpool’s best players in the last decade.
Right Back – Swansea’s much lauded fluent style is in part thanks to a Spanish core of players. Angel Rangel has adapted to the Premier League like a duck to water, more importantly whilst he likes to get forward he knows how to defend, a skill lost on the majority of full-backs. Cesar Azpilicueta seems to have made the Chelsea Right-Back spot his own will minimal fuss.
Centre-backs – Chico Flores aside, the weakest part of the team. Alongside Flores, Carlos Cuellar is the only other name to spring to mind. However after a tactical re-think Javi Garcia could be moved into centre defence if necessary.
Left-Back – On his day, Jose Enrique is one of the best around, never too far from an off day but he more than deserves his place in this team. Nacho Monreal has made a good start to life at Arsenal, if he continues in this manner he will soon cause a serious selection headache.
Centre Mids – Assuming Javi Garcia acts as the midfield enforcer rather than emergency defender, Mikel Arteta’s passing and cool head is vital, captain material.
Attacking Midfielders – The instructions are clear to these three absolute shoe-ins- do what you want, when you want. A failingly witty bio about Silva, Mata and Cazorla is irrelevant, quite simply three of the best players in the league, each often providing the match winning performances at their respective clubs.
Striker – A tough one next, Michu or Torres? Obviously Michu on this season’s performances (please can everyone heed Jessie J’s advice and forget their price tags – 25 Michus’ or 1 Torres etc), despite an incredible first season no one can quite tell how good he really is – surely Champions League pedigree? However if (a very big if) Fernando can ever regain his best form there can be very little debate, on his day absolutely one of the best around.
Manager – Rafa Benitez has clearly got the more experienced CV, however Roberto Martinez relegation saving heroics are rightly being praised. I guess it comes down to whether you think saving Wigan from relegation in consecutive years is more impressive than winning the Champions League.
Altogether not a bad team at all; like the Spanish 1st XI, predominantly attack minded and susceptible to the counter. This team should harbour Semi-Final ambition at the very least.