Gerard Moreno, in the last three seasons, has 42 La Liga goals. Rodrigo Moreno, in the same time frame, has 28. Narrow it down to the last two seasons, and the Villarreal man has 26 while the man Valencia is probably going to sell soon has 12. Somehow, Rodrigo is the only pure central forward Luis Enrique felt the need to call up.
Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t specifically a shot at Rodrigo. There are as many as seven different players in the latest Spanish national team selection that could play winger, and making those decisions while only carrying one central forward is the real heart of my issue. But considering none of those wingers are pure goalscorers (Oyarzabal is probably the best scorer among them, and he only had six open play goals in La Liga last season), it seems to me like a real goalscoring punch in front of net is what the forward line for Spain really needed, and Gerard Moreno is the perfect answer to that, not Rodrigo. (In fact, Paco Alcacer had as many La Liga goals in 930 minutes this season as Rodrigo had in 1889.)
If you’re only going to carry one striker in the Spanish national team, given the other pieces available, Enrique should have looked no further than this past year’s Zarra winner, and that should be painfully obvious. Surrounding him with players like Oyarzabal and Traore would give Spain an incredibly dangerous attack, but instead what I expect to see against Germany and Ukraine is a lot of possession without very many goals.
Rodrigo does many things very well. He’s an excellent supporting striker in buildup play, but he’s really only ever had one season where he seemed truly dangerous in front of goal in his entire career, and he’s not exactly young...
Luis Enrique is a very political figure within Spanish football. I’m not surprised that De Gea and Kepa haven’t been abandoned despite bad form, just like I’m not surprised by the head games Enrique seems to be playing with the Barcelona board by calling up newly listed for sale Busquets or defensive transfer target Eric Garcia (who certainly hasn’t earned his spot by his work on the pitch). I just wish that his desire to play political games didn’t so obviously interfere with what is best for the team.
Of the wing players called up, Oscar, Asensio, and Fati play for the big two in Spain, and it could be argued for various reasons that any of the three could have been dropped for a central forward. Oscar is weak in open play, Asensio played very little football last season, and Fati is literally still a child. Any of them could have been dropped in favor of Gerard and the team would clearly have been better for it. I just don’t understand why the snub happened.
Good luck to Spain, I’ll be rooting for them as I almost always do (except when they are playing the USA) against German and Ukraine, but this selection is a bizarre roster top to bottom, and I don’t really see it working all that well.