Old Trafford hero De Gea made a high profile error in Spain’s opening game against Portugal in which he failed to stop a straightforward effort from Cristiano Ronaldo.
Hierro thinking of replacing De Gea with Kepa, and bringing in Nacho in central midfield [!!!!] for last 16 – says @AS_Maroto who knows him well / is with camp in Russia https://t.co/UWgP3O3hFd
— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) June 26, 2018
That mistake led to heavy criticism from the Spanish public, with half of voters in one online poll in Spain asking for Hierro to hands the gloves to backup option Kepa Arrizabalaga instead. De Gea kept his place for the remaining group games, but could now be thinking about a change.
The story comes from Spanish outlet AS and is given credence as the journalist responsible, Joaquin Maroto, is said to have close ties to Hierro and is with the squad in Russia.
It is suggested that after leaking five goals in just three games, only one fewer than in 2014 when La Roja, as reigning champions, crashed out of the World Cup at the group stage, Kepa will have a chance to play and breathe fresh confidence into the side.
Finding a place in midfield for Nacho, typically a defender comfortable anywhere across the back four, could be a more important step towards solving Spain’s defensive frailty – the team leaked two goals against a Morocco team already eliminated on Monday night.
The 28-year-old, who scored a quite marvellous goal against Portugal as a right back, would be partnering Sergio Busquets in the centre of midfield to give Spain extra solidity.
Spain’s game against Russia will take place in Moscow on 1st July.