World Cup Absences of Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo Can Benefit Manchester City

Mark Jones@@Mark_Jones86Featured ColumnistJune 3, 2014

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Alvaro Negredo of Manchester City and Jesus Navas (R) pose with the trophy at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium on May 11, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Spain have gone with experience for the World Cup. When you’ve won everything in sight for the past six years that’s pretty understandable, really.

Five of the 23-man squad for the world champions have picked up over 100 caps, whilst two more players—Andres Iniesta and New York City FC’s one-man team David Villa—can bring up their centuries over in Brazil.

SEVILLE, SPAIN - MAY 30: Spain National team players pose a team picture during an international friendly match between Spain and Bolivia at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on May 30, 2014 in Seville, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

No other squad heading to South America has as many centurions on board—not even Italy—and it’ll be that experience that Vicente del Bosque will be relying upon as the Spanish go for a victory which would surely see them crowned as the greatest international side of all time.

For there to be the centurions though, there also need to be a few foot soldiers who fall by the wayside.

Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo were cut from Del Bosque’s final squad for the tournament, with the Manchester City pair—on 34 and 21 caps respectively—joining Juventus’ Fernando Llorente as the most experienced players to miss out.

It would have been a galling experience for both, particularly after they played their part in Spain’s previous successes.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 11:  Jesus Navas of Spain and Giovanni Van Bronckhorst of the Netherlands battle for the ball during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Final match between Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City Stadium on July 11, 2010 i
Lars Baron/Getty Images

Indeed, Navas was a crucial figure in the World Cup final four years ago, when the then-Sevilla man replaced Barcelona’s Pedro an hour into the match in Johannesburg, adding fresh legs when the Netherlands were just starting to tire of kicking the existing ones.

The winger was involved in the squad in Poland and the Ukraine two years later, when Negredo came in from the cold to start the Euro 2012 semi-final against Portugal. He didn’t score, but an international record of 10 goals in 21 appearances, including three in qualification for this World Cup, couldn’t have been easy to overlook.

The fact that it was surely boils down to two factors: Diego Costa’s desire to be viewed as a Spanish citizen, and Negredo’s curious end-of-season form which saw him contribute very little to City’s ultimately successful title charge.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18:  Alvaro Negredo of Manchester City looks dejected during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Manchester City and Barcelona at the Etihad Stadium on February 18, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Ph
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Whilst plenty of his teammates were doing all they could to try and pip Liverpool and others to the post, Negredo went from scoring 19 goals in 20 games in all competitions between late October and late January, to failing to fire at all in his final 16 matches of the season.

There were mitigating circumstances to that, of course. Plenty of those appearances came as a late substitute and he was also suffering with a shoulder problem, but it is a startling statistic and one so remarkable given the Spaniard’s previous performances.

Whilst he was City’s main man for a while at least, Navas quite literally operated on the fringes of things in his first season in English football.

The winger was always able to offer a good outlet to his side, but there was frequently a frustration that he wasn’t really giving anything more than that.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 02:  Jesus Navas of Manchester City celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the Capital One Cup Final between Manchester City and Sunderland at Wembley Stadium  on March 2, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie Mc
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

When he was good he was very good—such as in the 6-0 destruction of Tottenham when he scored twice—but consistency was an issue, as of course were the injury problems. He came off the bench to net the clincher in the Capital One Cup final, but unless he wants to be restricted to the super-sub role again next season, he’ll need to up his game ahead of 2014/15.

From City’s point of view the absence of a month in Brazil will help that, and the Blues have every right to expect to see a fit, hungry and prepared Navas and Negredo when they reconvene for pre-season training. Points will want to be proved to followers of both club and country.

When on form, the former Sevilla pair can add so much to a City team which really only needs a few tweaks further back to be ready to challenge again next season and to try and prove that, like Spain, they have the ability to follow up one success with another.

Experience has proved vital to that side, and a refreshed, wiser Navas and Negredo can prove that it can do just the same in this one.


    Should We Expect a Pirlo Revamp at Juve This Summer?

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Should We Expect a Pirlo Revamp at Juve This Summer?

    Dean Jones
    via Bleacher Report

    Liverpool Get $230M Payout 💵

    Premier League clubs to receive full prize money after agreeing to delay reductions caused by COVID-19 (Times)

    Manchester City logo
    Manchester City

    Liverpool Get $230M Payout 💵

    Ieuan Ivett
    via Mail Online

    Tottenham Complete £15M Hojbjerg Signing

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Tottenham Complete £15M Hojbjerg Signing

    The Independent
    via The Independent

    Ramsey's Reps Hit Back at Exit Reports

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Ramsey's Reps Hit Back at Exit Reports

    via Goal