In August 2017, Jesus Fernandez, popularly known as Suso, was called up for the first time to the Spain side by current Sevilla boss, Julen Lopetegui, who was his former manager at under-20 and under-21 level. He earned his first cap in a friendly against Russia on 14 November 2017 and has since then, gone on to earn five caps for the national team.
Suso’s finest performance with Spain came in his second cap against Wales on 11 October 2018, where he provided two assists in a 1-4 win over the Dragons in Cardiff, leading to some Liverpool ruing the club’s decision to allow him to leave. He got his fifth cap in the 4-0 victory over Faroe Islands, and earned himself a 7.1 rating on SofaScore.
Suso is a quick, creative and technically gifted left-footed player capable of playing both as an attacking midfielder and as a right-winger. He has also been used as a central midfielder. Suso possesses the skill to beat opponents on the ball, and solid playmaking abilities which enables him to set the tempo of his team’s play. His vision and passing accuracy also enable him to play quick exchanges with other midfielders and provide assists for his teammates. He is very dangerous from set-pieces (especially direct free kicks) and has a powerful shot.
Suso’s poor tactical sense makes him lack anchor play abilities – holding up play to create even better chances and pick out a better pass – and just like many playmakers, he tends to hold on to the ball a bit longer than expected. This makes him an easy target for defenders, but his footballing intelligence bails him out more often than not.
Suso’s trequartista role in Milan’s 4-3-1-2 before Marco Giampaolo has greatly contributed to his improved gameplay. Although he doesn’t have many good moments there because of the switch from the right-wing to the role, the lessons he has learnt has helped him build the playmaking side of his gameplay.
Under Gennaro Gattuso at Milan, the Rossoneri played a more possession-based football which also helped Suso develop into the type of player that former Spain coach Luis Enrique needed in his squad, which earned him his second cap and finally made him an option for La Roja going forward.
Since he secured his spot in the Milan squad in 2016/17, he has scored 25 goals and provided 30 assists in 134 appearances for the Rossoneri, despite his shaky performances due to the coaches not really knowing how best to use him. However, we can thank Vincenzo Montella who chose to play him in the trequartista role for his development into the player he is.
With the switch to 4-3-2-1 by Giampaolo – who also declared that the trequartista role is Suso’s to lose – moving him to the right, Suso can now drift back into that role and control the match from there, if he’s not attempting to cut in and shoot or cross the ball into the box.
He has stated previously how he prefers playing on the right and with this new freedom he has been given at Milan, we are sure to witness a season of greater exploits from the man who is valued by Milan at €40m, which will lead to more appearances in the Spain squad.