Luis Enrique seemingly disregarded Cesar Azpilicueta after claiming he had no left-backs in his Spain World Cup squad.

Speaking to the media ahead of his side’s fixture against Costa Rica tomorrow, Enrique expressed his anguish at being without any available left-backs in the camp.

His apparent agony came after Valencia’s Jose Gaya was sent home from Qatar due to sustaining an injury.

Photo By Ricardo Larreina/Europa Press via Getty Images

“Left back is the only position I can’t wait for anyone. There is no one who can adapt to what we ask for. If it were in another position, the player would be here. But they are two specific guys that have the characteristics to play there,” Enrique remarked in response to Gaya’s omission.

This is a rather odd admission in general, considering the players known to him capable of filling that position.

At his prime, Jordi Albi was arguably the best left-back in the world for half a decade.

Although the 33-year-old is way past his pomp now, he can still do a job when required.

Another option is Aymeric Laporte.

Manchester City’s defender might be a centre-back by trade, but being naturally left-footed makes him a decent replacement for Gaya.

Azpilicueta an alternative LB

Then there’s Azpilicueta, who spent a large chunk of his terrific career as a left-back.

Despite originally joining Chelsea as right-back, his versatility allowed him to shift over to the other side.

Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images

His clear strength in this role actually displaced Premier League legend Ashley Cole.

Jose Mourinho successfully deployed the Spaniard at left-back during the league-title winning 2014/15 season.

So, Luis, if you are looking for alternatives to Gaya, Azpilicueta could well be your man.

Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.