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Luis Enrique explains why he couldn’t wait for Valencia’s Gaya


The Valencia left-back was replaced by Alejandro Balde over the weekend

Spain coach Luis Enrique Martínez has explained why he had to resort to Alejandro Balde to replace Jose Gayá rather than wait for the Valencia left-back recovery.

Luis Enrique, along with Sergio Busquets, spoke to the media ahead of Spain’s World Cup opener against Costa Rica on Wednesday.

He said that he had to decide “with his head, not with his heart” and that he is calm about his decision, although in Valencia they reckon Gaya would have recovered in time to compete in the match against Costa Rica.

“Ready to play tomorrow? Even to play yesterday,” said Luis Enrique, ironically. “This is what happens in all countries, not just ours. Decisions are judged, but I have to make decisions because I am the coach.”

Lucho had no problem explaining his reasons again in detail. “If I had been able to make a decision with my heart, Jose Gayá would have stayed because I appreciate him, he knows it, and he deserves to be at a World Cup.

“But I have to make my decisions with my head. Both the (national team) doctors, along with the other external consultations we made, confirmed that Gayá had an injury of 10-15 days and could not play two of the three games (in the group stage).”

Gaya, once recovered, would then not have been 100% according to the information handled by Luis Enrique, “and I have to make a decision for the country. Imagine that I do what the Valencians want and Jordi Alba gets injured and we start the World Cup without left-backs, what would they have said.”

Specific role

Luis Enrique insisted that “what I want and what my heart tells me is for Gayá to play in a World Cup, and my head tells me what the team needs.”

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