Brereton Diaz must learn Spanish, says Chile coach

Ben Brereton Diaz of Sheffield United during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Aston Villa at Bramall Lane on February 03, 2024 in Sheffield, England.

Ben Brereton Diaz has been told by Chile's new coach it is "essential" he learns Spanish after being dropped for friendlies against Albania and France.

The 24-year-old striker, who is on loan at Sheffield United from Villarreal, was left out of Ricardo Gareca's first squad for the matches later this month.

Brereton Diaz was born in Stoke-on-Trent to a Chilean mother and English father and has won 27 caps for La Roja.

"I would like him to learn Spanish, I think it is important," Gareca said.

Gareca added that he wished to look "at other options" to Brereton Diaz for the two friendlies in Europe on 22 and 26 March.
"He was called up for the Copa America two years ago, he has had enough time to [learn how to] speak Spanish," said Gareca.

"It is something that I personally told him, that I would like him to speak Spanish. I consider it essential for communication.

"Communication with his team-mates, with me, with the coaching staff, with the people [and] with the press."

Gareca, who was appointed Chile's new coach in January, said "now the decision is this" but added that it was not a mandatory requirement for future selection.

However, the 66-year-old said if Brereton Diaz was "really interested" in playing for Chile then he would learn the language.

Brereton Diaz became an unlikely national hero in Chile after he was called up for the 2021 Copa America.

His eligibility was spotted by an eagle-eyed researcher's trawl through the computer game Football Manager and confirmed via an interview with the Blackburn Rovers website when he was a player at Ewood Park.

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