Gavi has become the country’s youngest debutant player ever after being picked in the starting XI for Spain’s UEFA Nations League semi-final against Italy. Spain defeated Italy on a 2-1 match score in a game Gavi made a debut. The midfielder broke into the Barcelona first squad following an injury crisis and has only made 10 professional games before being thrown in at the deep end at the international level.
At the age of 17 years and 62 days, he is La Furia Roja’s youngest-ever player. He broke the record formerly held by Angel Zubieta, who first played for Spain in 1936. Meanwhile, Gavi’s Barcelona colleague Ansu Fati received his first cap at the age of 17 years and 308 days.
The manager of Spain, Luis Enrique, has never been afraid to put his faith in young players. Enrique started Pedri – who is currently out of the squad due to injury – in every single game for his side during Euro 2020 when he was just 18 years old.
Luis Enrique told RAI, “See how good the kids are in Spain! It is not normal to see a player with this character, this confidence on his debut. [Gavi] will be the future of the Spain squad and I think the present too. Verratti is his idol! I told him, today you press Verratti from the first moment to the last. He loved it.”
According to the Athletic, speaking about Gavi just after he was called up, the former Barcelona manager said: “I have known Gavi for many years, he is one of the models of the Barca youth academy. I have no doubt about the performance he will give. He’s a pure midfielder, very much in the Barca style. He brings interesting things with the ball and without the ball.”