Spanish supporters have long hoped that they would one day see Jesus Navas, the Mediterranean nation’s great blue-eyed hope, pull on his country’s red strip and torment international defenders just as effectively as he does those playing in La Liga. His chronic anxiety and homesickness delayed his debut for Spain but with these problems seemingly behind him, he is now intent on making up for lost time. His fine performances since his initial call-up suggest that, as far as the fans are concerned, it may have been worth the wait.
Previous coaches have always been respectful of the advice offered by the club doctors at Sevilla that keep a watchful eye on the progress made by Navas, who at the age of 18 was already attracting considerable attention due to his pace and dribbling skills. Now a first-team regular at the Andalusian club, Navas has gradually matured, both on and off the pitch.
What the ‘Sprite of Los Palacios’ (the area of Seville in which he was born) lacks in physical presence (1.70 m; 60 kg), he makes up for with impish acceleration and a whole range of magical feints, but it is as a creator of goals that the 24-year-old winger comes into his own, as Luis Fabiano, Freddy Kanoute and Alvaro Negredo will testify, all three regularly slotting his pinpoint passes into the net.
In 2009, when Navas made it known that he was finally making himself available for Spain, Vicente del Bosque put his faith in the Sevilla player straight away, offering him his first international appearance in a 2-1 friendly win against Argentina in November.