Lopetegui: Laporte never an option

Spain boss Julen Lopetegui has stated that Aymeric Laporte was never an option for Spain, while Jose Callejon was selected over Paco Alcacer.

The Spanish squad announcement for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Albania was made one day after Athletic Bilbao defender Laporte – who had been strongly linked to chosing Spain as his national team – was included in the France squad, and Lopetegui ruled out the idea that his inclusion was ever a possibility for La Roja.

"Laporte has never been an option for us, simply because he was not a selectable player," said the former FC Porto boss after announcing his squad.

"Italy and Albania are two complicated fixtures, so we must approach them with full concentration but it will be tough to take maximum points."

There were a number of high-profile exclusions from the squad including Iker Casillas, Juanfran, Juan Mata, Cesc Fabregas and Paco Alcacer, but Jose Callejon, Isco and Sergio Rico were among the call-ups.

"Callejon has always been very close to my list and he has shown great recent form," Lopetegui continued.

"Isco is a player who is fantastic – even when he is not playing.

"Sergio Rico also has been playing at a very high level and we believe can help us."

Spain squad: De Gea, Reina, Rico, Nacho, Alba, Carvajal, Ramos, Pique, Javi Martinez, Koke, Sergi Roberto, Saul, Busquets, Silva, Vazquez, Thiago, Iniesta, Isco, Callejon, Vitolo, Morata, Costa, Nolito

Tags Aymeric Laporte Jose Callejon Julen Lopetegui Paco Alcacer