The door for Jordi Alba to return to the Spanish national team is open. Luis Enrique wanted to send a message to the left-back for openly talking about his unhappiness during the coach's final year at Barcelona. He also wants him to be 100 percent committed to the new La Roja project. Alba's form is not in doubt, but Lucho hasn't tired in the last week of repeating that as important as quality is a "good attitude".
Luis Enrique had doubts about Alba in that sense and believes that leaving him out will see him return with hunger, loyal to the new coaching staff's ideas. The coach wants him to be switched on with the national team and with this warning he hopes the Barcelona player will have a change of chip -- and he knows him well after spending three years together at Camp Nou.
The Asturian, though, hasn't put a date on Alba's return. It could be for October's international break, when Spain play Wales and England, or in November when they face Croatia and Bosnia. It could even stretch on until March, when qualifying begins for Euro 2020, if Luis Enrique really wants to make a point. But everything suggests that Alba will be back before then.
Marcos Alonso DISAPPOINTS
Spain's two games this week have shown that Alba would improve the team. La Roja's left flank has been weaker for his absence against England and Croatia. Marcos Alonso didn't work at Wembley. Lucho even took him off late on for a centre-back, Inigo Martinez, to strengthen the defence. Against Croatia in Elche, Jose Luis Gaya played. The Valencia full-back has similar qualities to Alba and worked better. In reality, even before Luis Enrique's appointment, Gaya was around the squad as the obvious understudy to Alba due to their similarities.
Alba's absence also had a negative effect on Isco. His performances were one of the few positives at the World Cup but the Real Madrid man missed the Catalan. Isco looked uncomfortable, especially at Wembley, without having someone to link up with.
Luis Enrique and his team will look back over the games against England and Croatia at Las Rozas in the coming days and it's most likely that they will come to the conclusion that Alba is a plus that the national team cannot do without.
SUPPORT FROM TEAMMATES
Another factor in Alba's favour is the supports from his Spain colleagues, who say they have missed him inside the camp, although adding that they respect Luis Enrique's decision. From Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto, through to the heavyweights from Madrid, like Sergio Ramos, Alba's a played well-liked inside the dressing room and one who always helps create a better atmosphere.