Yeremy Pino celebrates scoring his fourth goal against Espanyol. / EP

Luis Enrique is spoiled for choice

World-class Spanish talent is oozing across the continent

Rob Palmer
ROB PALMER

Luis Enrique is one of the most fortunate managers in football; Spain is showcasing some of the finest young players on the planet.

The downside of the pandemic has been the flow of expensive imported world-class talent; the upside is the pathway to La Liga first teams has been cleared for the kids to show their worth.

The latest to hog the headlines was Villarreal's 19-year-old, Yeremy Pino. He became the youngest player ever to score a La Liga brace and the youngest to hit a first-half hat-trick; and made it a four-goal haul against Espanyol.

Immediately he was linked to all the top English clubs. It's almost as if he was an overnight sensation, but he's been nurtured and encouraged. Last season, he became the youngest-ever Spaniard to win a major European cup final in the Europa League.

In the summer he made his Spain debut in the Nations League against Italy and certainly wasn't phased by the occasion. Yeremy hails from Las Palmas, the neighbouring Canary Island to Tenerife, where Pedri was born.

When Pedri was 18, he became the youngest player to ever represent Spain at the European Championships and earned the Player of the Tournament accolade and the only Spain player to be named in the team of the tournament.

Those two are ancient in comparison to Gavi. The 17-year-old has been a sensation since making his Barcelona debut in August and soon became Spain's youngest-ever player.

Also at Barcelona, they have Nico González, who will be the long-term successor to Sergio Busquets for club and country.

The talent pool stretches well beyond Barcelona – with most clubs boasting an emerging young talent. Athletic Bilbao have introduced teenager Nico Williams this season, the younger brother of Iñaki. The Basques already provided Unai Simón, established himself as the first-choice goalkeeper at the age of 24. Oihan Sancet is another from the same academy who should soon make the move to the senior side.

No longer is the national team dominated by players from Real Madrid and Barcelona. Spanish talent is spread across Europe: Brahim Díaz is learning at AC Milan and Dani Olmo is now at RB Leipzig.

It does mean that Luis Enrique needs to venture to many more grounds rather than having a season-pass for the Camp Nou or Bernabéu, but I'm sure he's enjoying the adventure.

The exuberance of youth and the element of the unknown are vital factors which will make Spain one of the finest sides again. The revolution began a while ago and is gathering pace.