?Saul Niguez has given a fascinating insight into what makes his Spain teammate Sergio Busquets so special, in an interview with Spanish newspaper ?El Pais.
The 23-year-old midfielder plays a similar role at ?Atletico Madrid to that played by Busquets at ?Barcelona, and Busquets has been something of a mentor to Niguez since he broke into the Spain team in 2016.
Speaking to Diego Torres, Niguez was asked whether it is difficult to be a team’s ‘organiser’ – the underappreciated role that he and Busquets share.
“Yes, even more so in the way we play in that deeper midfield role,” he answered. “If you play further upfield you can have more time or more ways to carry the ball[…] In that position, what you do is give time to your teammates. [Busquets] knows how to do that.
“He encourages you to make the next play, by playing the ball to you in a way that you can figure out what to do next. If he plays it to the back of you it’s for you to return it, if he plays it to your front it’s because you’re free to turn.
“For me to do that, I must be very focused and it mentally wears me out a lot more. It comes naturally to him.”
Niguez was also asked about the physical differences between himself and the less imposing Busquets.
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“He makes up for it mentally, by knowing how to position himself, by knowing where his opponents are and being able to invite them out wide right in the ideal moment for him to press them.
“He is aware that he probably won’t win a speed race or a physical duel, but if he takes them where he wants them he’ll recover possession.
“I may have the physical ability but he has everything else.”
Busquets is absent from the current Spain squad due to a toe injury. Niguez is included, and played the second half against Germany on Friday.