Fernando Torres believes Juan Mata still has a big part to play for Spain despite his in-form Chelsea team-mate being overlooked for the upcoming World Cup qualifying double-header.
Mata scored three times last week in Chelsea's wins over over Arsenal and Nordsjaelland, but was then not named in Spain's 23-man squad for Friday night's match against Belarus and Tuesday's clash with France as coach Vicente del Bosque said he did not have any space to recall the 24-year-old.
Mata was also left out of Spain's previous squad following a request from Chelsea to reduce his workload after a busy summer, which saw him represent his country at both the European Championship and the London Olympics.
Asked about Mata, Torres said at a press conference: "He's sad about not being here but the level at which he's playing he doesn't have to worry, it's just a question of time before he returns.
"I'm sure that he has a very good present and future in this team and will be very important."
Del Bosque said while announcing his squad last Friday that his problem was "quantity, not quality", and Torres has pointed out it is not easy to find a spot with the World Cup and European Championship winners.
"These days it's very tough to get in the national squad, we have very versatile players and this is very useful taking into account how the team plays," Torres said.
"We are very fortunate to have many more than 23 capable players. We know how tough it is to be left out and we have to feel very fortunate."
He added: "The national team does not always play with the same players, there are players who come in and others who go out. This is the great thing about this team, we have 23 players who can be starters."