The Barcelona striker did not play in any of the four Nations League games
Lucho wanted him around the camp because he wants him at the World Cup
It has been a tough season for Ansu Fati. The Barcelona star's appearances have been hampered by injuries as he looked to move on from the problem that kept him out of the majority of the previous campaign. The No.10 is set to be one of the leaders of Xavi Hernandez's project but he has not had continuity. He played just 538 minutes. Barça missed his eye for goal.
After ending the season with five substitute appearances -- including scoring a decisive goal against Real Betis -- he was called up by Luis Enrique to the Spain squad for the UEFA Nations League. However, Lucho warned that he would "take no risks" with the forward and that his call-up was more of "a prize" than "an intention to load him with minutes." The message from the coach was clear: "We want to see him train and give him confidence. He's an important player for us. It's a different case."
Lucho is aware that, to go far at the World Cup in Qatar, Spain need to dominate both boxes. And that, if he's 100%, Ansu can make the difference in that sense. That is why he called him up. That is why he has taken care of him during these two weeks. That's why he has been working on his finishing. "I have no doubt he will get back to his best," Luis Enrique said before Sunday's final game, a 2-0 win over Czech Republic. "He's a kid that works very hard. He's very humble. This will make him much stronger."
Despite the initial idea being to give him some minutes, Ansu has closed the campaign without adding to his four Spain caps. It's been more than 18 months since his last international appearance. The Nations League has not served as his comeback technically but he has been brought back into the family. The experience has been much more profitable in an emotional sense than a football sense for the young attacker.
The La Masia graduate ended the season as a footballer again and is now ready for preseason. Both the minutes given to him by Xavi and the camp with Spain will be useful moving forward as he aims to be back to his best when the new campaign begins in August.