Fabian Ruiz has “vastly improved” at Napoli under Carlo Ancelotti, said Spain Under-21 Coach Luis de la Fuente ahead of the European Championship opener with Italy.
It kicks off with Spain facing hosts Italy on Sunday evening in Bologna.
“I was sure that the likes of Federico Chiesa, Nicolò Zaniolo, Moise Kean, Nicolò Barella and Lorenzo Pellegrini would’ve been called up for this tournament,” the tactician told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“We have Fabian Ruiz and Oyarzabal from the senior Spain squad, while Rodrigo and Marco Asensio asked to be released. I listen to my players and if someone is not convinced, that’s all there is to it.
“Fabian had a sensational season in Serie A and working with Ancelotti has vastly improved him as a player. The Coach gave him space, used him in many different positions and helped him bridge the gap from a very different style of football played by Quique Setien.
“I expect great things from him, he knows full well this is like an understudy European Championship and a magnificent launching pad. The past shows this, with Saul, Isco and Thiago becoming world-famous stars after the U21 tournament. I hope he can follow their path.”
Spain Coach de la Fuente is concerned that Italy will be stern opposition in this European Championship, especially as they are hosting.
“Italy have extra motivation, as after the disappointment of missing out on the 2018 World Cup, they are rebuilding their national team throughout all the youth levels. The Under-20, Under-21 and even the women’s team are all super competitive.
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