Juanmi ‘honoured’ at La Roja call-up

Malaga striker Juanmi says it is an honour to have been called up to the Spain squad for the games with Ukraine and the Netherlands.

The 21-year-old has been added to Vicente del Bosque’s group ostensibly as cover for Diego Costa, who was forced to come off with injury in Chelsea’s 3-2 win over Hull City on Sunday, and sees it as a motivation for other young players emerging from Malaga’s academy.

“This call-up is not only a tribute to the team but something for all the kids at the academy to aspire to,” said Juanmi during a hastily-arranged Press conference at La Rosaleda.

“It’s a dream I’ve had since I was small and comes as a surprise, but it’s also a great honour and recognition for the work the team has put in. I think that says everything. It’s a great experience that every player should enjoy.”

Juanmi believes his game has not changed substantially since making his full debut with Malaga aged 16, although he acknowledges the part boss Javi Gracia has played since his arrival at the club at the start of this season.

“I don’ think anything of importance has changed but there is a Coach here who has picked me, which has given me the confidence I needed as a player.

“I said last summer that it was going to be a challenge for me to have a good year.”

The Malaga-born player highlighted the quality he expects to find in Del Bosque’s squad and also what he feels he can bring to it, whilst revealing he had received many messages of congratulation.

“The level of the national team is very high but I’ll be going there with a great desire to do well. My main strengths are mobility and being able to get away from my marker.

“I’ve had a lot of messages, for which I’m grateful, and they have all been very supportive. Willy Caballero and Santi Cazorla have also congratulated me, two players who have helped me a lot.

“I’ll be trying to make every second count so they select me again,” he enthused.

Tags Del Bosque Javi Gracia Juanmi