Friday, 19 May 2017

Herrera, Fabregas left out of Spain squad for qualifier

Herrera, Fabregas left out of Spain squad for qualifier

Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has left Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera out his latest squad but Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta, Pedro and Diego Costa of Chelsea are all included.
Spain host Colombia in an international friendly on June 7 in Murcia before facing Macedonia in a World Cup qualifier in Skopje four days later.
Herrera was in the last squad in March but is not among the 25 players selected by Lopetegui for next month’s games, with Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas also missing the cut.
“There are many players that merit to be in the squad, as is the case for [Real Madrid’s Lucas] Vazquez and Ander Herrera,” Lopetegui said in Friday’s news conference. “Herrera was voted as United’s best player of the season.
“Cesc also deserves it after a brilliant end to the season but we had to make decisions.”

Lopetegui has included six Real Madrid players, who will join the national team at a later date because of their involvement in the Champions League final on June 3 in Cardiff.
All the remaining players, including five from Barcelona, are expected to be with the squad on June 3, in time to watch the Champions League final together.
Moving up from the under-21 squad are Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio, Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and AC Milan’s Gerard Deulofeu.
“It’s a different call up because of the different issues [Champions League final],” Lopetegui said. “We will use U21 players to take part in training in the absence of Real Madrid players.
“We know Marco well as he has already made his debut with us. He is doing a great job at Real Madrid as we expected. It’s not easy to get minutes at Real and he is achieving that.”
Lopetegui also highlighted Real Madrid midfielder Isco’s great form this season. He has scored 10 goals and set up eight more in 29 league appearances for Real, who need a point to clinch the Liga crown this weekend.
“It’s great to have Isco with us and in such great shape,” Lopetegui said. “He is having the growth we all expected. He is having an extraordinary campaign, especially at this crucial stage of the season.”
Costa, who has scored a season-high 20 league goals for Chelsea, and Sevilla winger Vitolo, are Spain’s leading scorers in qualifying with five goals apiece.
Manchester City midfielder David Silva, who has four assists and three goals in qualifying, and Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal are among seven Premier League players included.
Celta Vigo’s Iago Aspas, who is the top Spanish scorer in the league with 18 goals, two more than Athletic veteran forward Aritz Aduriz, has also been named.
Lopetegui says the timing of the qualifier against Macedonia will prove a test to his players.
“I’m worried because they are three very important points in our qualifying campaign,” he said. “The challenge of Macedonia as hosts is great. We know it.
“Macedonia is going to demand a lot from us. We will have [seven] players that are going to arrive to the national team 21 days after the league has ended.
“They will be given specific workouts as we have to arrive well prepared and with the right mentality.”
Lopetegui believes the game against Colombia will be the perfect test to get his players ready for the game in Skopje.
Since Jose Pekerman took over as coach of the Colombian team in 2012, no European side has managed to beat them in five attempts, with the South American side winning four and drawing one and yet to conceded a goal.
“Colombia is fifth in the FIFA ranking and is a very demanding side,” Lopetegui said. “But we want to use that game to prepare in the best possible way for the encounter in Skopje.”

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