Valencia midfielder Dani Parejo believes he has what it takes to establish himself in the Spain squad after being handed his first call-up.
Parejo was a prolific international for Spain at youth level but only now, aged 28 and in his seventh season with Valencia, has he been selected by their senior team.
“How I heard about my call-up? I was in the physio room and suddenly my teammates and the kitmen came in, screaming to congratulate me,” he told El Transistor.
“Here to stay? Yes, I see myself in this team and believe my characteristics go well with how the national team play. I hadn’t lost hope.
“I’ve improved a lot defensively and I’m more complete now. For this, my Coaches have been very influential. I have two Coaches who have been references in my career: Valverde and Marcelino.
“This call-up is a dream and I hope I can play at the World Cup, but it’s still far away and I have to go day by day.
“Plans? I had none for the summer, although I did this weekend! Not succeeding at Real Madrid? Playing for them is very difficult. They always have the best players and bring in lots of players.
“Losing 5kg? When Marcelino came in, he told me that I had to lose 5kg. The truth is that now I’m feeling very good. I’m more agile and quicker.
The 28-year-old has come a long way in a short space of time, having been branded a ‘dog’ by a section of Valencia fans after he tried to engineer a move to Sevilla in the summer of 2016.
“It’s clear that my relationship with the Valencia fans has changed,” he added.
“We’re having a very beautiful time together. I went through some difficult times last season, not only for me but also my family.
“They were tough times and the situation was very complicated.”