Spain boss Luis Enrique says David De Gea first-choice status never in doubt

David De Gea appears set to remain Spain's first-choice goalkeeper after new coach Luis Enrique insisted he "never had any doubts" about the question of who should be No. 1 for the national side.

Calls for De Gea to lose his place intensified throughout Spain's disappointing World Cup campaign in Russia, most notably after he allowed a tame Cristiano Ronaldo shot to squirm through his hands during a thrilling 3-3 draw with Portugal in the group stage.

De Gea's erratic form carried over into the new Premier League season as United struggled under Jose Mourinho, and rival Kepa Arrizabalaga admitted he feels "mature" enough to challenge for the Spain No. 1 shirt after making a solid start to life as replacement for Thibaut Courtois at Chelsea.

Luis Enrique included both De Gea and Kepa in his first 23-man squad to face England and Croatia in the UEFA Nations League, but appeared to back the United goalkeeper when the issue was raised in a news conference on Friday.

"I don't know what's going to happen in the future but that's a position I haven't had any doubts about," the Spain coach said. "Never."

Luis Enrique believes his most pressing challenge as Spain coach is to evolve the team from the possession-focused identity, widely dubbed "tiki-taka," that saw them fail to breach a limited Russia side and ultimately lose on penalties in the World Cup round of 16 despite enjoying 75 percent of the ball.

"The fact we have been a reference over the past decade means that everyone knows our national team," he added.

"I have already spoken about evolving the model in my presentation and that is what we are working on. I am convinced that is what we will do.

"Afterwards, we will see if we are effective or not, but the objective is to evolve and stop being predictable."

UEFA Nations League full draw
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Meanwhile, Sergio Ramos said there was renewed enthusiasm around the squad since Luis Enrique, who was a serial winner during his three seasons in charge of Barcelona, had taken over.

"In the last few years Spain have dropped a couple of levels and our objective is to recover what made us win in the first place," Ramos told a news conference on Friday.

"The coach and players have a great challenge in front of us in trying to win again. We have a lot of ambition but we have to show it. We want the world to fall in love with us again."

Ramos said it has been an intense first week working with the new coach ahead of their opening Nations League game in League A, Group 4.

"The boss has asked us to pay more attention this week because everything was new so we've had days of team talks, lots of dialogue and lots of work," Ramos added.

"We've received a lot of new information and we're try to translate that to the pitch so our fans can enjoy themselves again."

Real Madrid defender Ramos also said he had no concerns about the treatment he might receive from England supporters on his first visit to the country since tangling with Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah in the Champions League final.

Salah injured his shoulder and had to leave the game after falling under a heavy challenge from Ramos as Real went on to win 3-1.

"I never go onto the pitch with the intention of injuring another professional so I have a very clear conscience," he said. "If the Premier League is known for something it's for the good reception it always gives to the best players.

"I've come here to win with Spain and I don't care what people might say or how I will be received."