As Spain continue their preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2022, they have been dealt with a setback as left-back Jose Gaya has sustained an ankle injury.
According to SPORT, the Valencia left-back withdrew from La Roja’s final training session on Wednesday due to a low-grade lateral sprain in his right ankle. A better picture of his situation will emerge after he goes through an MRI scan.
While it is said that the doctors are optimistic about Gaya’s condition, a scenario might arise wherein Spain will have to replace the left-back in case his injury does not look good.
In that situation, Barcelona youngster Alejandro Balde could possibly be called up to replace Gaya. Another Barça star, Marcos Alonso, could also be in contention for the berth if Gaya is indeed unable to participate in the tournament.
Balde had been tipped for a first-ever call-up to the Spain senior team for the World Cup after his explosion in the Barcelona setup this season. The 19-year-old has been preferred as the first-choice left-back by Xavi ahead of Jordi Alba, who has made it to the La Roja squad.
An attacking full-back, Balde has also shown great adaptability, having played at right-back on several occasions.
As for Alonso, he is a player that Enrique has previously called up to the Spain squad and has been fairly solid since arriving at Barcelona this past summer, even when asked to play in an unfamiliar left-back position.
FIFA rules allow nations to name a replacement for an injured player in the squad and it remains to be seen whether Gaya’s injury is serious enough for him to be forced out of the tournament. In that case, either Balde or Alonso could receive a late call-up to fly to Qatar.