The Eric Garcia case is nothing normal, but he is thriving

STORY

The Man City defender is barely playing for his club but excelled for Spain

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Jordi Gil

“Eric Garcia is not a normal case,” said Luis Enrique after Spain beat Kosovo on Wednesday. The coach has used him in all three World Cup 2022 qualifiers. Eric arrived at the team camp with doubts around him, because he’s barely featured this season. He returned to England with a place at Euro 2021 in the bag.

Lucho said “we took a risk with Eric because he’s not played much for his team. But we believed in him and he’s shown his level without having played before he came.

“He’s very intelligent, older than his age (20) on the pitch. We have a lot of confidence in him and he’s more than capable.”

Lucho knows Eric Garcia will play for Barcelona next season and that is the one reason he’s not getting a lot of game time for Pep Guardiola’s Man City.

“City wanted to renew him but his decision clearly was to leave,” acknowledged Luis Enrique. “We are delighted to have a player like Eric. He directs the defence, leads it, communicates on the pitch, is intelligent, knows when to get involved. In these 10 days he’s confirmed his level.”

Eric has played the 90 minutes just twice for City in 2021, in the FA Cup against Swansea and Cheltenham. His only Premier League appearance was March 13, the last 15 against Fulham.

He has good reports of Eric’s professionalism and behaviour, and he’s fit still despite not playing. He played 266 minutes in these qualifiers, more than anyone else. He only came off at the end for Ramos for five minutes against Kosovo.

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Eric played 344 passes, 329 accurately, against Greece, Georgia and Kosovo. That’s 95.6 per cent accuracy. He’s good on the ball and his ability to help bring it forward is one of his big virtues and fits Luis Enrique’s system.

He only committed one foul in the three games, his good positioning and anticipation allow him to defend well without committing infractions in the box where they could be costly.

Now he has seven appearances for Spain, not leaving the side since replacing the injured Ramos in the 6-0 win over Germany in the Nations League.

The Martorell born defender is reaching the end of a season that will mark his career. Participation in his first big international tournament and signing for Barcelona could make this a huge summer for the defender.

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