Spain manager Luis Enrique was impressed with Barcelona midfielder Gavi's impressive performance on his international debut in Wednesday's UEFA Nations League semi-final win against Italy. The 17-year-old is the youngest player to ever represent Spain as he broke a record that stood since 1936.
Gavi, whose full name is Pablo Martin Paez Gavira, only made his debut for Barcelona recently earlier this season as a substitute in their win over Getafe in the La Liga fixture, back in August. Since then he has started three games across domestic and European competitions as he featured against Levante, Benfica, and Atletico Madrid, but has never completed 90 minutes for the Catalan club. The Spanish midfielder started for his nation on Wednesday against Italy and stayed on the pitch for 85 minutes which was the most he has ever played in senior football after being fast-tracked from the under-19 Barcelona team.
At 17 years and 62 days old, Gavi was the surprise inclusion in the Spanish side as they went on to beat the European champions 2-1 in the Nations League semi-final as they ended the 37-game unbeaten run of the Azzurri. The Barcelona midfielder was the youngest player to make his debut for Spain and manager Luis Enrique complimented the midfielder's performance on a storied stage.
"It was his first game with Spain, but we already knew all about him,"It's not normal that he plays like that [at 17]. He's a player with personality, enviable physical conditions and he plays our style of football. He plays like he's at school or in his garden at home. It's a pleasure to have a player with that quality and character with us. We can say that he's the national team's present, not [just] the future."