Friday, 11 November 2011

England v Spain: Golden generation has been a decade in the making, insists La Liga president Jose Luis Astiazaran

So how do you explain a football fairytale like Spain? World champions, European champions, just two competitive defeats in five years and so good that an entire concept of football — tika-taka — has been named after them.
England v Spain: Golden generation has been a decade in the making, insists La Liga president
Leading the way: Spain manager Vicente del Bosque's life is made easier by the abundance of talent, now and in the future, at his disposal Photo: AP

There are some good judges who already regard this as the finest international team in history but, most frightening of all, is the strength in depth. Cesc Fabregas, Juan Mata, David Silva and Fernando Torres have been among the authentic stars of the Premier League in recent years and would stroll into the vast majority of international teams. Yet they have something else in common.
None would make Spain’s starting XI when Vicente del Bosque has all of his best players available. Such deep-rooted power suggests that Spain’s recent success is unlikely to be fleeting.
Ominously, both the under-19 and under-21 Spanish teams won their respective European championships this summer while Del Bosque on Friday made particular mention of the emerging “youth” in a squad that continues to top Fifa’s world rankings.
According to La Liga president José Luis Astiazarán, it is all the realisation of more than a decade of planning. “The success we are having now is not the work from today,” Astiazarán told Telegraph Sport. “It is work from around 10 years ago when we started to push the young players and pushed the clubs to work with the young players and involve them in the first team.”
Critically, Astiazarán points out that the percentage of Spanish players in La Liga is actually increasing and now stands at 80 per cent. The contrast with the Premier League, where 39 per cent of the players are English, could hardly be more striking.

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