Spain boss Luis Enrique has assured captain Sergio Busquets he has a major role to play at Euro 2020 once he returns from a COVID-19 absence.
The Barcelona midfielder is said to be well in himself and able to train in isolation despite testing positive for the virus last week.
Busquets will miss Spain’s opening game against Sweden in Seville on Monday; however, he may be available for the second group game on June 19, when Poland are the opposition, and there is no prospect of him being cut from Spain’s squad.
“I’m going to wait for him. We are all going to wait for him,” Luis Enrique said in a news conference on Thursday.
“There is plenty of time for him to come back. He will be certainly on the list.
“What Busquets brings is something impressive as an offensive and defensive midfielder. He is the captain of the national team and one of the team’s leaders.
“He benefits from the fact that he was infected so early. We will study each case individually.”
Luis Enrique is looking for positives and working on the assumption that Busquets will be available for the rest of Spain’s campaign once he has returned to camp.
Amid questions over whether the squad might be vaccinated before their campaign gets under way, Luis Enrique says it would be important to establish certainty around that prospect, particularly given side-effects are so common following jabs.
“As a coach it is something that we are considering. I would like that if it happens, we get vaccinated right now because it would make me angry to be left without a player for it,” the Spain head coach added.
“To this day we have no guarantees that the team will be vaccinated.
“On a personal level it is not pleasant to be waiting for a PCR result. We make the players wake up very early so the results arrive as soon as possible. The waiting is not a pleasant situation, but I have experienced much worse.”
Luis Enrique had five months away from duties with Spain in 2019, enduring family tragedy in that time as his daughter Xana died from bone cancer.
The COVID-19 situation pales against that personal trauma for the former Barcelona and Real Madrid star, who said: “For me this is child’s play compared to some things that I have had to experience.”
At the same time, he recognises that on a professional level the pandemic could be disruptive to La Roja over the coming weeks.
“The virus is uncontrollable and despite respecting and enforcing the protocols it sometimes appears. We are not looking for culprits, but solutions,” Luis Enrique added.
“I still think without any doubt that Spain are one of the favourites to win the European Championship. We are in that group of six to seven teams that are candidates for the title.”