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PETE JENSON: Luis Enrique wants to coach in England but will not quit Spain before World Cup

Manchester United target Luis Enrique was his usual jovial, and a bit prickly, even on Friday when he told Spanish reporters ahead of the team’s match with Albania: ‘I’m not renewing [my contract] a lot for you. That way you don’t have to ask them to fire me if the World Cup goes bad.’

The 51-year-old’s current deal runs until the World Cup and United could get one of the world’s best coaches if they sign him, but there is no worry in Spain that he will walk away before the tournament starts.

In addition to all his other qualities, he is extremely loyal: he wouldn’t run away from his players, he wouldn’t run away from Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales, and he wouldn’t run away from half the work.

Manchester United manager goal Luis Enrique not leaving Spain for the World Cup

Manchester United manager goal Luis Enrique not leaving Spain for the World Cup

United are looking for their next permanent boss and club chiefs admire Enrique everywhere

United are looking for their next permanent boss and club chiefs admire Enrique everywhere

When he temporarily left the job in Spain because his daughter was terminally ill, Rubiales kept his word to welcome him back whenever he felt he could return to work.

When interim coach Robert Moreno (who had been Enrique’s assistant) wanted to keep the lead, Luis Enrique’s response gave a telling insight into his character.

He immediately fired Moreno and explained his decision in his first press conference back. “The disagreement with Robert Moreno happened on September 12,” he said.

“We met at my house, it lasted 30 minutes and I clearly noticed that he wanted to keep the lead during the European Championship and after the European Championship he confirmed that if I wanted to, he would go back to my assistant coach. I understand that he is ambitious, but to me he has been unfaithful. I would never do it. I don’t want someone like that on my staff. For me it’s a big mistake.’

Enrique showed his ruthless streak when he fired Robert Moreno, who succeeded him in Spain

Enrique showed his ruthless streak when he fired Robert Moreno, who succeeded him in Spain

He will in no way show that ‘big flaw’ in his own character by abandoning his squad before they play in Qatar. It would be a double standard that he just isn’t capable of.

Whether that puts an end to United’s interest in him is up to them. Waiting for him could pay off if they can find a way to do it as he has long had an interest in coaching in England and is unlikely to renew with Spain if given the chance to take over at Old Trafford after Qatar was on the table .

If he moved to Manchester, he would face Pep Guardiola, the man he played with at Barcelona and who he succeeded there as coach of both youth teams and first team.

He is the only manager to come close to Guardiola’s performance at the Camp Nou. He won the treble in 2015 and teamed up around the formidable front three of Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi.

With a long-held ambition to coach in England, Enrique would not renew if United came to call

With a long-held ambition to coach in England, Enrique would not renew if United came to call

Ralf Rangnick is United's interim boss until the end of the season and will become an adviser

Ralf Rangnick is United’s interim boss until the end of the season and will become an adviser

That Mauricio Pochettino hasn’t even come close to doing the same at Paris Saint-Germain with an albeit older Messi and Neymar and Kylian Mbappe reminds us how difficult it is and how good Luis Enrique’s man-management skills are.

He found a way to account for the top-heavy side. “I’ve never worked so hard in my life,” admitted Andres Iniesta, who was in his final seasons but found an extraordinary level of fitness and discipline to play in the three midfielders behind that extraordinary attack.

Enrique also did wonders with the B team. They would have been promoted from the second tier if it were not impossible for a club to have two sides in the same division.

Things weren’t going well for Roma, but they love him anyway, ‘a real man in a world of fakes’ read a banner from the club’s ultras. At Roma he had the difficult task of coaching Francisco Totti in the last seasons.

Enrique is the only coach to come close to Pep Guardiola's glory at Barcelona

Enrique is the only coach to come close to Pep Guardiola’s glory at Barcelona

He had previously shown that he was adept at dealing with big names. In the treble season at Barcelona, ​​he dropped out with Messi at the start of the year with Argentina’s missing training because he was so fed up with his coach.

But they made up for it and were locked in an embrace on the final day of the season with the Champions League won – a trophy Messi would never come close to again.

He also has a flair for bringing talented youngsters. He took a big gamble on untried Gavi after the 17-year-old played just a handful of games for Barcelona. The teen is now a fixture for both club and country.

He’s a coach to get excited about when he takes over from your club, but that doesn’t change his bond with the Spanish team. He will not be drawn to huge fortunes and he will not panic that United is an opportunity that may not come again.

A triathlon madman, if he quits the job in Spain after the next World Cup with a new Manchester United manager already in place, he will simply get on his bike knowing that another chance will come soon somewhere.

A coach to get excited about, the fiery Enrique won't panic that United is a one-time opportunity

A coach to get excited about, the fiery Enrique won’t panic that United is a one-time opportunity

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