Spain youngsters Yamal and Williams 'have a gift from God' – Luis de la Fuente

By Sports Desk June 14, 2024

Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams "have a gift from God", so says Spain boss Luis de la Fuente.

Yamal and Williams are among a number of exciting talents that De la Fuente has at his disposal heading into Euro 2024.

Spain, who have won the European Championships on three occasions, face Croatia in their opening Group B game on Saturday.

They head into the tournament in fine form, having thrashed Andorra and Northern Ireland 5-0 and 5-1 respectively in pre-tournament friendlies, and in Lamal and Williams, have two of LaLiga's most promising young attackers.

"They are young players, especially Lamine, he's a young boy, with incredible talent that only the chosen ones have," De la Fuente told reporters.

"They have a gift from God, very few players have these qualities."

Barcelona teenager Lamal has been involved in five goals in his seven appearances for his country, though revealed this week that he will be doing his school homework during the tournament.

"We're trying to treat the situation normally, but also trying to explain by being humble he will develop so much more," said De la Fuente, who confirmed defender Aymeric Laporte will not be available on Saturday.

"If there are bad moments things can fall away fast and there's huge criticism. That goes at his club as well.

"We're enforcing the education and training from his club. They are special footballers, Nico too, that makes them different from the rest."

That being said, there is no guarantee that either Lamal or Williams will start against Croatia in Berlin.

"You might take it for granted that Nico and Lamine play tomorrow, you might think it's a surprise if they don't, but it wouldn't be for me," added the coach.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic, meanwhile, backed Josko Gvardiol, who is likely to play at left-back, to stand up to any attacker he may face.

"Josko has had a really good season at Manchester City, he's one of our key players," said Dalic.

"He's capable of stopping any attacker on the Spain team, he's got it all. I hope he will stop Pedri, Yamal and all the others."

Shoot-outs excluded, Spain have lost only two of their last 22 matches at the Euros (W13 D7), and that was against Croatia and Italy in 2016.

They have reached the knockout stages in six of their last seven appearances, with the only exception coming in 2004.

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