The incipient beard and discreet reasoning disguise the youthful features of Pablo Fornals (Castellón de la Plana, 1996), the midfielder who several of the most active scouts in Europe insist on identifying with the link destined to continue the tradition of Iniesta and Xavi. The qualifying phase for the final phase of the European Under-21 of 2019 (0-1 in Albania and 2-7 in Iceland) and is ready to measure at Atletico in Vila-real, this Saturday.
Question. Do you feel part of the school of Iniesta and Xavi?
Answer. Can be. Spain is the birthplace of many players who do not know if they are midfielders, extremists or midfielders.
P. What do you remember about the matches you played against Iniesta?
R. That every time he controlled the ball, time stopped. He decided what the match was. If I wanted to speed up the game, Barça was faster, if I wanted to control, everyone calmed down and played.
P. Did they ever talk?
R. Never. I was fortunate to meet a couple of times with him at Las Rozas, when we were promoted to the U-21s to train with the absolute, but beyond the cordiality within the field I have not talked much with him.
P. When you played at Málaga, Iniesta told his teammates that he would have liked to see him called with the absolute.
Sometimes by moving myself I close pass lines or I cut them to better placed teammates. But it's my way of understanding football, always be active looking for the ball
R. Those of us who come from more humble teams, those of us who have not had the good fortune to play in teams like Barcelona, have to work a lot more and run twice as much to have half the ball as they do. That Andrew has good words for me is a compliment. It is a rush for anyone. He is a gifted with the ball on his feet.
P. What does it mean to be a gifted with the ball on your feet? Rarely do professionals see a dribble as difficult as the one he did to Iñigo Martínez. Do you think that is only within the reach of the gifted?
R. That is a technical action that goes well, but nothing is further from considering that it is proof that someone is a gifted. Because the play ended in nothing. They stole the ball. I do not think that puts me above Iñigo. It is an action of the game in the same way that two plays later Iñigo Córdoba, a partner of the U-21, made me a pipe that did not appear on TV but had more merit because he did not lose the ball. Mine was a nice gesture, no more.
P. Are there players from highlights of television more than of competition?
R. We have all seen highlights of many players. They are actions that almost never reflect the reality of a party. It's ten seconds inside a match of 90.
P. How did you start playing?
R. When I was small, I was hyperactive. My parents decided to wear me down in the afternoon so I could sleep. With four years they enrolled me in swimming and in the school they pointed me to a futsal team. There I started kicking a ball and saw that I could get well.
P. What is your first memory of football?
R. My futsal team. I have had the luck or the misfortune of being the last generation of children that we spent playing in the park; We did not have time nor could you see so many games on TV. We saw what we could and usually in deferred. We preferred to be in the park with two stones doing goals, or at the door of a garage, watching TV. Also, I'm a little rough for technology. Now I have a console in case I get bored.
P. There are scouts who see him running around the court so desperately asking for the ball that they have come to think that you love this game so much that you would be a footballer without charge.
As a child I liked Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Adriano, Zidane … They were unbalancing players. Now they are harder to find because football has changed
R. When the game ends the data with the kilometers traveled and I do not feel that I have moved so much. What I try is to help my colleagues and give them the best option at all times. It is true that sometimes by moving myself I close pass lines or I cut them to better placed colleagues. But it is my way of understanding soccer, of always being active, looking for the ball, breaking lines, playing forward, that my teammates see me unmarked; and then in defense to try to make it as difficult as possible to the rivals. In the Spanish League, every time you stop you give facilities to the rival.
P. He usually does 13 kilometers per game repeating very intense efforts. Are these statistics given by your lungs or your desire to come in contact with the ball?
R. A little bit of everything. You have to be physically prepared. I am not the fastest player in the world or the most decisive. But I can hold on at a good pace. I have to take advantage of it in the matches. If in the minute one I do a race with the center or the pivot, I do not win, but in 90 it is more likely that I win. There I feel fresher than other colleagues and other rivals.
P. He looks furious when a pass fails. Can it be as frustrating as losing a game?
R. I do not want to disappoint my colleagues. These are small details. From a badly given pass can come a goal against or a clear chance that makes the other team come up. I do not like losing balls, or doing bad control.
P. What is the most important thing about football? The control, the pass, the goal …?
R. The placement Body orientation The pass is worked hard. It looks to give the tense pass and all that. But a good body orientation, just that, can free you from a whole line of pressure … if you do well in control.
P. Is the orientation of the body in space congenital or can it be acquired?
R. One has to have it inside. But everything is trainable.
P. You are interior. But now at Villarreal he is being played as a playmaker. Are you not more comfortable marking the times of the game?
R. Today I look better as a playmaker. But if we play against a team that is locked much the same I feel more comfortable midfielder. It depends on the rival. How are the teammates and you at the time of control. Sometimes it is very difficult to have chances when a team is very close, or even control the ball in the midst of so many people. There are days that you feel more comfortable with the ball throwing cons and other times you arrive.
P. How does a born interior adapt to life in the playmaker in the 4-3-1-2 of this Villarreal?
R. For the figure of the playmaker, or the interior, or the end that goes between the lines in the 4-3-3, it is very important to have strikers that move a lot, that are unmarked, that take you out of the center of your site to They do not know whether to go, come or go. Then the work of the midfielders is to shoot. It is a joint work that makes the rival separate the lines so that you can be more alone up there and receive with time.
P. What kind of player did he want to be as a child?
R. We all like to score goals. When you score a goal, the feeling is very beautiful. I liked Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Adriano, Zidane … They were unbalancing players. Now they are harder to find because football has changed.
P. Why has it changed?
R. The defenses and the goalkeepers are much more prepared. The teams work much better defense and it is more complicated than a single player to unbalance three or four. The supports are constant. The lines are tighter.
P. How do you see the senior team? Is it more vertical or does it continue to make plays as usual?
R. It is said that they are more vertical when they score many goals. At the moment they win by 1-0 and still have 70% possession they will say it is the touch selection. Virtue is in touching and being profound.
P. How do you rate the U-21 qualification for the 2019 European Championship?
R. We have qualified first in the group with a lot of margin. Equally the defeat against Ireland left us touched. I think we are a very good generation and it hurt because we want to do well. If it happens in the European the next day we will be in Spain. It was a warning.