Tue 22 November 2022 | 13:37

Spain’s Enrique assures Gaya’s injury despite Valencia’s dismissal

Valencia's captain missed Luis Enrique's squad for the World Cup due to a minor injury and was replaced by Alejandro Balde. Claiming Gaya won't be sidelined long, Enrique expressed his sympathy with the left-back.

Suffering an ankle injury in training,

Jose Gaya

was cut from Spain's squad for Qatar 2022, as

Spain

was forced to replace him with Barca's Alejandro Balde.

Although

Valencia

declared Gaya to be fit as quickly as he returned to the club, Luis Enrique assured his press conference that Gaya's injury would have ruled him out for a chunk of the group stage at least.

"

With regard to Gaya, it happens everywhere,"

Luis Enrique

told reporters.

"I have to make decisions.

"If I followed my heart based on his professionalism, he'd be here, but I can't make decisions based on my heart. I have to use mind.

"In three games he'd not have been able to play 100 per cent. I have to make the best decision for the whole team and the whole country. Imagine if I'd listened to Valencia or what Gaya wanted, which was normal, and then imagine if [Jordi] Alba is injured.

"We'd start the World Cup with no left-back, then imagine what you'd say about me. You'd ask why we risked the situation.

"My mind said I should make the best decision for the team, and there's no doubt the best is to have two fully fit full-backs for the World Cup."

Enrique continued to express how his team couldn’t wait on Gaya.

"No, you might not believe this, but I can't keep waiting for someone [to be fit], because no one else will be able to adapt to demands of left-back,"

he added

.

"A winger can act as a wing-back at times, but left-back is unfortunately the only position I cannot wait for.

"If it happened to a centre-back, I'd wait, but I only have two players for the left-back position. I'm truly, deeply sorry for Gaya, I really like him, he's a great guy and he has had very bad luck, but I have to think with my mind what a coach should do.

"He's been unfortunate with the injury, he did it while crossing, and it was something I'd never seen before. But I'm sure he'll get something positive in future."

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