Lopetegui welcomes squad depth

Julen Lopetegui welcomes the depth of players he can call into the Spain squad, mentioning Inigo Martinez, Saul Niguez and Marco Asensio, among others.

Lopetegui replaced the retired Vicente del Bosque over the summer and it was put to him that La Roja only have two central defenders to call on – Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos.

“No, there are a lot more. There are centre-backs in smaller teams with good track records. Marc Bartra has gone to Borussia Dortmund to play more. Javi Martinez has continuity at Bayern Munich. Raul Albiol is coming off a great season at Napoli. Inigo is an interesting player as he’s not as well known,” Lopetegui said when speaking to AS.

“There’s also Nacho, who can cover at full-back or in the centre. There are good solutions and we are waiting to see everyone’s level and their form. It’s important to peak when you come to the national team.

“Asensio, Saul and Denis Suarez are interesting because they play in top teams to a better level every day. Logically the three of them are in our thoughts. I’ve got them in mind and they fall into the ideas we have for the national team. They have a profile that fits the style I want Spain to have. Our job is to be aware of the performance of the players and to be alert to new appearances.

“Dani Carvajal? He’s a great full-back and the idea is to continue counting on him. But it’s true there are a lot of options, such as Sergi Roberto, in addition to [Hector Bellerin, Cesar Azpilicueta, Juanfran]. We look at each player because there is a lot of competition in all positions.

“Keep in mind that there will be players who deserve to be called in all positions but won’t be because we can only have 23. I know everyone will have different opinions. That’s the truth, but in the end we will decide on the squad we need. That’s what has always happened to the national team Coach.

“Nationalisation? We’re not going to close the door on anyone. Diego Costa has started well with Chelsea. We’ll see. He’s a selectable player and we’re waiting on him. He’s played for Spain and he’s one more player. Aymeric Laporte? At the moment he isn’t selectable. He doesn’t meet the legal requirements to play for Spain and we’re not looking that far ahead.”

Tags Julen Lopetegui Spain