Soccer-Arrizabalaga returns as De la Fuente rings changes for Spain's Euro qualifiers

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Euro 2020 Qualifier - Group F - Spain v Faroe Islands - El Molinon, Gijon, Spain - September 8, 2019 Spain's Kepa Arrizabalaga during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Eloy Alonso/File Photo

(Reuters) - New Spain coach Luis de la Fuente recalled goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and striker Iago Aspas as he named a 26-man squad on Friday for this month's European championship qualifiers against Norway and Scotland.

De la Fuente stuck with only 11 players who went to the World Cup in Qatar, where Spain were knocked out by Morocco in the last 16 under predecessor Luis Enrique, with Barcelona defender Jordi Alba among those overlooked.

Chelsea goalkeeper Arrizabalaga, who has 26 appearances in all competitions so far, last played for Spain in October 2020 while 35-year-old striker Aspas returns for the first time since 2019, having scored 11 goals in 25 league games for Celta Vigo.

Real Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez, 33, is also back in the fold for the first time since 2018 while Osasuna's David Garcia and Espanyol's Joselu earned their first call-ups.

Barcelona midfielders Gavi and Pedri, who featured at the World Cup, made the cut but their team mates Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres and Eric Garcia joined Alba in being omitted.

Atletico Madrid duo Koke and Marcos Llorente along with Real forward Marco Asensio were also left out.

"When selecting this squad, I have not looked at the past but rather at the present and the future," De la Fuente told a news conference.

Spain host Norway on March 25 and take on Scotland in Glasgow three days later in their first two games in Group A, which also includes Georgia and Cyprus.


Goalkeepers: Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea), Robert Sanchez (Brighton & Hove Albion), David Raya (Brentford)

Defenders: Jose Luis Gaya (Valencia), Alejandro Balde (Barcelona), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Inigo Martinez (Athletic Bilbao), Nacho Fernandez, (Real Madrid), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), David Garcia (Osasuna), Pedro Porro (Tottenham Hotspur)

Midfielders: Rodri (Manchester City), Martin Zubimendi (Real Sociedad), Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad), Pedri, (Barcelona), Gavi (Barcelona), Fabian Ruiz (PSG), Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid)

Forwards: Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig), Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao), Bryan Gil (Sevilla), Mikel Oyazarbal (Real Sociedad), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Joselu (Espanyol), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonali Paul)

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