Spain call in veteran Raul Albiol as youngsters get chance to impress

By Sports Desk June 08, 2021

Spain have added Raul Albiol to the group of players on standby to plug holes in Luis Enrique's Euro 2020 squad if COVID-19 strikes any further blows.

Captain Sergio Busquets tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday and was taken away from the national team training camp, although it is hoped he will be able to return.

Subsequent tests on remaining players and staff have all showed up negative results, but Spain are erring on the side of caution by ensuring they have suitable reinforcements if needed.

That is why versatile Villarreal defender Albiol, a 56-cap international who won the Europa League with his club side last month, comes into the picture at the age of 35.

With the senior squad in isolation and training individually, it will be a Spain Under-21 team who line up in a friendly against Lithuania on Tuesday, but senior caps will be awarded.

It was also announced on Monday that Leeds United forward Rodrigo Moreno and three midfielders in West Ham's Pablo Fornals, Valencia's Carlos Soler and Celta Vigo's Brais Mendez would be called in to train in a 'parallel bubble', being ready to step in should Luis Enrique's squad be depleted.

Spain's opening game against Sweden at Euro 2020 takes place on June 14 in Seville.

While the senior squad suck up the blow of missing out on a final international before the tournament begins, Spain Under-21 boss Luis de la Fuente will give his youngsters a "dream" outing.

De la Fuente said in a news conference: "This does not change the way I work, nor my responsibility and my professionalism. The players, like me, will be very excited to represent Spain.

"For us it is a great dream. I guarantee that the players and the coaching staff are only think about winning."

He said the match day would be "a beautiful day because the boys are going to show their potential".

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Man Utd plan another move for Wolves' Ruben Neves Rumour Has It: Man Utd plan another move for Wolves' Ruben Neves

    Ruben Neves is Erik ten Hag's number one midfield target in his first transfer window as manager at Manchester United.

    Neves, 25, signed for Wolves from Porto in 2017, and quickly asserted himself as a crucial cog in midfield.

    United made a move for the Portugal international in the January transfer window, and were rebuffed, but they reportedly prepared to come in with a much more substantial offer this time around.

     

    TOP STORY – RED DEVILS LAUNCH ANOTHER MOVE FOR NEVES

    After United's January offer of £35million was unsuccessful, The Sun is reporting Wolves will want in the range of £50m to sell star man Neves.

    Wolves have reportedly been preparing for life without Neves for some time now, and are targeting 26-year-old Sporting CP midfielder Joao Palhinha as his long-term replacement. They are also said to have strong interest in Benfica's Martim Neto, demonstrating the clear links their scouting department has with the Primeira Liga.

    However, United will have stiff competition for Neves' signature, with Barcelona reportedly keen. 

    ROUND-UP

    – Paris Saint Germain are open to Neymar leaving in the upcoming window, according to ESPN, with Chelsea named as a club that have interest.

    – The Star is reporting Benfica have told interested parties – including United – that striker Darwin Nunez will cost £100m.

    Bayern Munich will pay £25m for Liverpool's Sadio Mane as a replacement for Robert Lewandowski, per L'Equipe.

    – The Telegraph is reporting that Aston Villa will explore the possibility of signing manager Steven Gerrard's former team-mate, Luis Suarez, who is a free agent.

    Newcastle United have made enquiries about Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, and hope to add the France international to their attack for next season, according to The Telegraph.

  • Lautaro hopes free agent Dybala goes 'where he is happy' Lautaro hopes free agent Dybala goes 'where he is happy'

    Lautaro Martinez does not know where Inter-linked forward Paulo Dybala will play next season but hopes it will be "where he is happy".

    Dybala's contract at Juventus is expiring, making him one of the most sought-after free agents of the upcoming transfer window.

    Widespread reports have suggested he is most likely to join Argentina team-mate Martinez at Inter – although the Nerazzurri striker is also the subject of transfer speculation.

    But as the pair link up on national team duty, Martinez insists Dybala's club future has been set to one side.

    "We didn't touch the subject," Martinez told TyC Sports. "We talk about many things, about his situation and everything, but today he is thinking about the national team.

    "His future will be decided when these games are over.

    "He is a player with quality, personality and I hope he plays where he feels most comfortable, where he is happy."

    Martinez is also focused on his role with Argentina, looking ahead to the World Cup in Qatar later this year – the first of his Albiceleste career.

    "[The World Cup] is a dream I have had since childhood," Martinez said. "With my family, I constantly talk about this – they are all football fans.

    "If I think now about what could happen, anxiety comes to me. I hope we can leave a good impression.

    "These are dreams you always have. First your dreams are of being a professional, then they are renewed. Today I am months away from this [dream]; I hope it can be fulfilled and I can help my team-mates."

    Even before that, at the start of June, Argentina have the Finalissima against Italy at Wembley to look forward to, pitting the Copa America winners against the European champions – an eagerly awaited fixture for Italy-based Martinez, even if the Azzurri will not be in Qatar.

    "It will be an important game for us because of what the opponent means, beyond the fact that they have been left out of this World Cup," he said.

    "We know their characteristics, their players, they are a high-level opponent. We have a very important test ahead to see where we stand."

  • All-female coaching staff to oversee Jamaica camp for CONCACAF U15 tourney in July All-female coaching staff to oversee Jamaica camp for CONCACAF U15 tourney in July

    For the first time in Jamaica’s football history, a national squad will be overseen by an all-female coaching staff as 27 girls are called to camp to prepare for the CONCACAF Women U15 tournament set to take place in Tampa, Florida, from July 31 to August 7, 2022.

    The players will be directed by Head Coach Tashana Vincent and Assistant Coach Alicia James. Both women are former national representatives.

    Meanwhile, the squad of players will be comprised of Kimoy Harris, Kryshana  Reid, Ashley Lowrie, Cassandra Smith, Jada-Lee Bryan, Devonae  Lewis, Dejaunae  Lewis, Breanna  Marr, Schennel Goodhall, Adrianna  Morris, Shanae   Ashley, Sajane   Anderson, Italya  Robinson, Bianca McDonald, Destiny   Powell, Jennifer  Williams, Shiona   Ashman, Shantea  James, Lacey   Phillips, Jhonelle   Rose, Jamara   Jones, Dejonea  Smith, Felisha  Ferguson, Rishaune  Gordon, Elizabeth  Miller, Shereece Jameison and Chrisann Tomlinson.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.