Luis Enrique tells Barcelona star he will start 2022 FIFA World Cup clash against Japan: Reports

Barcelona star Ansu Fati set to start for Spain against Japan in 2022 FIFA World Cup group-stage clash.
Barcelona star Ansu Fati set to start for Spain against Japan in 2022 FIFA World Cup group-stage clash.

Luis Enrique has told Barcelona star Ansu Fati that he will start the 2022 FIFA World Cup group-stage clash for Spain against Japan on 1 December, as per El Nacional.

Fati was one of the players Enrique wasn't completely sold on when picking his 26-man squad for the showpiece event in Qatar. But the up-and-coming winger made the cut.

Speaking about Fati's selection, Enrique claimed after announcing Spain's 2022 FIFA World Cup squad:

"He was one of the doubts until the last minute. We bet on him before others. Ansu's level is unquestionable. He has lived a difficult process. I had doubts until the last second."
😏 ¿Por qué todos los 𝐉𝐔𝐆𝐎𝐍𝐄𝐒 sonríen igual?💥 ¡¡Vaya golpeos nos ha regalado @ANSUFATI en el entrenamiento de la @SEFutbol!! 🥅 Como no le era suficiente una escuadra... ¡¡PUES 𝔾𝕆𝕃𝔸ℤ𝕆𝕊 POR LAS DOS!!#VamosEspaña | #Catar2022

He has two goals and one assist in five senior caps for his nation but is yet to make a debut in the FIFA World Cup. Fati was an unused substitute in Spain's 7-0 rout of Costa Rica and the 1-1 draw against Germany.

Enrique has placed his trust in a number of Barcelona youngsters for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Alongside Fati, Gavi (18), Pedri (20), and Alejandro Balde (19) have also traveled with La Roja to the Middle East.

All four teams in Group E could still qualify for the last 16 of the competition. Spain are top of the table with four points from two games. Japan and Costa Rica have three, while the Germans have one.

A point against Japan would be enough to see Spain qualify for the first knockout stage of the World Cup. A loss, however, could be the end of the road for them, if there is any other result apart from a draw between Costa Rica and Germany.

Barcelona legend Dani Alves hails Ansu Fati as the face of La Masia

Fati has been on Barcelona's books since he was nine years old. Apparently, he had a photo taken with club legend Dani Alves when the former was playing for La Masia.

Dani Alves trained with his former Barcelona teammates today.

The two recently crossed paths with Alves, who was at Barcelona between 2008 and 2016 in his first spell with the club. The Brazil international shared details of the interaction with the Guardian.

"I saw Ansu the other day and he said, 'I bet you don’t remember me. I have a photo with you when I was a kid'. I said, 'Of course I do. Your face stayed with me. I said then you were going to be the face of La Masia.'"

Fati has already scored 22 goals and provided nine assists in 78 games across competitions for the Catalan giants' senior squad. This season, he has three goals and three assists from 20 matches.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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