University student Guillamón among the Spanish defenders in Qatar

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MADRID (AP) — For young Spain defender Hugo Guillamón, any downtime at the World Cup can mean time to study.

The 22-year-old Valencia player is heading to Qatar for his first World Cup while continuing his studies at university and biomedical engineering.

“If there is time and everything goes well, I will try (to study) a bit,” Guillamón said on Tuesday. “In a tournament like the World Cup, there isn’t much time to think about anything else, but I will try to do what I can.”

Guillamón said that fortunately there will be no need to pack books because “now everything is done via the Internet”.

He said his parents always encouraged him to continue his education despite his career as a professional footballer.

“It’s always come naturally to me,” he said. “I try to take it little by little and combine studies with football.”

Guillamón is one of the promising players selected by coach Luis Enrique in a revamped World Cup squad. He will wear the No.15 shirt that belonged to his idol, Sergio Ramos – one of many veterans who are no longer in the team.

“Sergio is a legend and a reference for every player,” Guillamón said. “I grew up watching him play, paying attention to him and trying to do what he was doing.”

Guillamón was a late addition to the Spanish squad heading to Qatar, making the final squad despite only a few previous call-ups. He has just two appearances for the senior team, compared to 180 for Ramos, Spain’s most capped player.

“As youngsters we can add a lot of energy and ambition,” said Guillamón, who scored when Spain used their Under-21 players in a friendly against Lithuania in 2021. after the senior players had to self-isolate due to the coronavirus.

Guillamón played mainly as a defensive midfielder at club level with Valencia, but with the national team he will be part of the centre-backs which also include Eric García, Pau Torres and Aymeric Laporte.

“The coach has confidence in me, he knows I can play in both positions,” said Guillamón, who was one of the players who was not fully fit and trained separately from the group at the center Spanish training on Tuesday, with Álvaro. Morata and Marcos Llorente.

Spain will play Jordan in their final World Cup warm-up on Thursday before traveling to Qatar. He will start against Costa Rica on November 23 before also facing Germany and Japan in Group E.

Spain are trying to win their first major tournament since the 2012 European Championship. Two years earlier, they won their only World Cup title in South Africa.

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