Luis Enrique names Spain World Cup qualifiers squad


Madrid (AFP) – Spain coach Luis Enrique named a World Cup qualifying squad on Thursday long on youth but short on Real Madrid players.

As he had done for Euro 2020 Luis Enrique decided not to rely on any Real representatives for September’s international window fixtures against Sweden, Georgia and Kosovo.

The former Real player has rested the likes of Pedri, Dani Olmo and Mikel Oyarzabal, who helped La Rioja progress to the semi-finals of the delayed Euro where they were beaten on penalties by eventual winners Italy.

Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Alvaro Morata are back, as is Raul Albiol, the 2010 world champion making his international return.

But with the 2022 World Cup a year and a half way Luis Enrique has principally decided to pursue his policy of testing out youngsters.

Eric Garcia, 20, who featured in the Euro squad, is named and there are first call-ups for 24-year-old Celta Vigo midfielder Brais Mendez, 25-year-old West Ham striker Pablo Fornals and Sporting Braga’s 21-year-old forward Abel Ruiz.

Spain lead Group B for the World Cup finals in Qatar with two wins and a draw.

They play Sweden on September 2 in Solna, Georgia in Badajoz three days later and Kosovo on September 8 in Pristina.

Spain squad

Goalkeepers: Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao), David De Gea (Manchester United), Robert Sanchez (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Defenders: Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Jose Gaya (Valencia), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid), Eric Garcia (Barcelona), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Inigo Martinez (Athletic Bilbao), Raul Albiol (Villarreal).

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Rodri (Manchester City), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad), Carlos Soler (Valencia), Brais Mendez (Celta Vigo).

Forwards: Pablo Fornals (West Ham), Pablo Sarabia (Paris Saint-Germain), Ferran Torres (Manchester City), Adama Traore (Wolverhampton), Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), Abel Ruiz (Sporting Braga)

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