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Monday, May 27, 2013
Torres named in Confed Cup squad

Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque has recalled Fernando Torres and Javi Martinez to what is a conservative 26-man provisional squad for June's Confederations Cup in Brazil.

Manchester City's Javi Garcia is one of eight Premier League players included, alongside his City team-mate David Silva.

Torres is joined by fellow Chelsea players Juan Mata and Cesar Azpilicueta, while Arsenal's Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal are in, as is Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

Sevilla's Alvaro Negredo has been left out, but one of Torres, Roberto Soldado (Valencia) or Barcelona's David Villa could be among the three names pared from the list after Spain's domestic season ends next weekend. Betis playmaker Benat Etxebarria, Garcia and Monreal are also candidates to be cut.

Barcelona's Carles Puyol is a notable absentee, but Del Bosque has kept faith with the core of Spain's World Cup and Euro 2012 winners, choosing not to rest players such as Xabi Alonso or Xavi Hernandez, who have had demanding and injury-hit club seasons.

The coach said all his senior players wanted to make the trip and he had not thought about giving anyone a longer summer break.

"We are at the end of the season, and whenever there is a tournament of this type it is impossible that the players arrive fresh," he explained.

"I do not think any of the players of Nigeria, Uruguay, Brazil or Spain will arrive in perfect condition. I believe they are players with extraordinary physical talent. If we had any doubt, none of them would go. If the club doctors or the players themselves see that they cannot go, we will not force anyone."

Younger players including Isco, Thiago Alcantara and David de Gea have been left with Spain's Under-21 side as they defend their European Championship title in Israel next month, but Del Bosque said they were part of his plans for the future.

"We all have breakfast together almost every day and we are in permanent communication," he said. "It [the decision not to call them up] could be criticised, but we have a permanent dialogue between all the coaches and the senior team.

"I understand about Isco, Thiago, [Cristian] Tello, [Asier] Illarramendi, Inigo Martinez. But we have preferred to keep with the ones who were with us recently. There are no reasons to leave them out."

With Puyol not having recovered from a knee operation in March, the squad contains just three specialist centre-halves, but Del Bosque said other players could cover that position if required.

"We have alternatives," he added. "There are full-backs who can play centre-half, midfielders. Puyol has not played. We have been in touch with him, and we must respect players' recoveries."

The Confederations Cup runs from June 15 to 30, with Spain playing Uruguay on June 16, Tahiti (June 20) and Nigeria (June 23) in their group games.

Del Bosque said he was taking the competition seriously and remembered his side's shock semi-final defeat to the USA in the last tournament in South Africa in 2009.

"It is a competition with its own worth," he said. "Not just for the four previous world champions [taking part], but other good teams too.

"We hope to be at the level required. It seems almost impossible that the US would beat you 2-0, but that is football and you cannot underestimate anyone."

Provisional squad:

Goalkeepers: Casillas (Madrid), Valdes (Barcelona), Reina (Liverpool).

Defenders: Ramos, Arbeloa, Albiol (Real Madrid), Pique, Alba (Barcelona), Monreal (Arsenal), Azpilicueta (Chelsea).

Midfielders: Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Fabregas (Barcelona), Alonso (Madrid), Garcia (Manchester City), Cazorla (Arsenal), Martinez (Bayern), Silva (Manchester City), Etxebarria (Betis).

Forwards: Mata, Torres (Chelsea), Villa, Rodriguez (Barcelona), Soldado (Valencia), Navas (Sevilla).

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