Mata and Herrera in latest Spain squad

Date published: Friday 4th November 2016 3:03

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has been recalled to an injury-hit Spain squad for the upcoming matches against Macedonia and England.

Mata is among several returning players in Julen Lopetegui’s 25-man group, with Aritz Aduriz – fresh from his five-goal Europa League haul for Athletic Bilbao on Thursday night – Cesar Azpilicueta, Sergio Asenjo and Marc Bartra also back in the fold.

Uncapped Sevilla defender Sergio Escudero has earned his first call up.

They will help cover the loss of several national team linchpins to injury, with Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba and Javi Martinez all missing.

Spain take on Macedonia in a World Cup qualifier in Granada on November 12 before then facing England in a friendly three days later at Wembley.

The other Premier League-based players included are Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal, Chelsea striker Diego Costa, Manchester City duo David Silva and Nolito and Manchester United pair David de Gea and Ander Herrera.

Midfielder Herrera, who has impressed for United this season, could be in line for a Spain debut, having earned his first call-up for the recent matches against Italy and Albania, but without featuring in either game.

There is still no place for Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas, though, or record-breaking keeper Iker Casillas and Atletico Madrid defender Juanfran.

Coach Lopetegui told a press conference: “The 25-man list is to cover all possible absentees that we could have.

“We’ve total confidence in the players we’ve chosen. Aduriz achieved something difficult yesterday, but we already had him in our minds before that game.

“He’s doing very well, has had good games, and he gives us alternatives. Every player up front is different, but they can all fit in with the way we have of attacking.”

With 35-year-old Aduriz winning a place back in the squad, Lopetegui was asked if David Villa, 34, might also be an option.

Villa, Spain’s all-time record goalscorer, has not played for his country since the 2014 World Cup, but the former Barcelona and Valencia hitman has been a prolific scorer for Major League Soccer side New York City FC.

Lopetegui said: “We have no problem bringing in older players. In the case of David Villa, he is playing in another league and is at a good level. He is being competitive and scoring, but we’ve understood that the strikers we had to bring in were those that we have.

“We are happy with the squad that we have, and it’s been chosen to help us try and claim victory in both games.”

Spain squad to play Macedonia and England: Reina (Napoli), De Gea (Manchester United), Asenjo ( Villarreal); Nacho (Real Madrid), Bartra (Borussia Dortmund), Martinez (Real Sociedad), Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Monreal (Arsenal), Carvajal (Real Madrid), Escudero (Sevilla); Roberto (Barcelona), Herrera (Manchester United), Busquets (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Isco (Real Madrid), Thiago (Bayern Munich), Silva (Manchester City), Mata (Manchester United), Vazquez (Real Madrid), Callejon (Napoli), Vitolo (Sevilla); Morata (Real Madrid), Costa (Chelsea), Nolito (Manchester City), Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao).

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