Spain coach calls up Sancet and Fran Garcia for Euro qualifiers

Spain coach Luis de la Fuente called up some fresh faces including Real Madrid defender Fran Garcia and Athletic Bilbao midfielder Oihan Sancet for upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers.

La Roja face Scotland on October 12 and Norway on October 15 as they bid to secure qualification for the tournament in Germany next year.

Garcia was part of the squad which triumphed in the Netherlands this year as Spain won the Nations League but has not yet made his debut, while Sancet is included for the first time.

The 23-year-old midfielder has been sent off twice this season in six La Liga appearances for Athletic, scoring one goal against Alaves.

Garcia has had a mixed start at Madrid following his summer move from Rayo Vallecano, with some strong contributions in attack but issues defensively.

“(Sancet) gives us a lot, plays between the lines well, gets into the box, has fantastic potential and fits our idea, we trust him,” said De la Fuente.

“Fran is a player who will have a big career, it’s normal to have these bumps when you arrive at a club like Real Madrid.”

The coach also selected Barcelona’s teenage winger Lamine Yamal again. The 16-year-old became Spain’s youngest ever player and goalscorer in September as they thrashed Georgia.

Some have questioned whether a player so young should be part of the international set-up.

“We always look to make the process as reasonable as possible, but there are players who knock on the door sooner than others,” said De la Fuente.

“He has fantastic potential, exceptional qualities. Remember when (Diego) Maradona or (Lionel) Messi were 16, if we said they shouldn’t have played, now it would seem like sacrilege.

“Players who have that special touch, so different, you can’t set limits for them, you have to let them develop all their potential and show their class.”

Scotland top Group A with 15 points from five games, including a 2- 0 win over Spain in March, with Spain second on nine points, having played one fewer match.

De La Fuente said he hoped Spain, confirmed as one of the 2030 World Cup hosts alongside Morocco and Portugal this week by FIFA, would eventually be chosen to host the final.

“I would like the World Cup final to be played in Spain, that we have this final, that’s my dream,” said De La Fuente.

Spain squad

Goalkeepers: Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Real Madrid), David Raya (Arsenal/ENG)

Defenders: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Robin Le Normand (Real Sociedad), David Garcia (Osasuna), Pau Torres (Aston Villa/ENG), Aymeric Laporte (Al Nassr/KSA), Alejandro Balde (Barcelona), Fran Garcia (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Rodri Hernandez (Manchester City/ENG), Martin Zubimendi, Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad), Fabian Ruiz (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Gavi (Barcelona), Oihan Sancet (Athletic Bilbao)

Forwards: Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid), Joselu (Real Madrid), Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao), Lamine Yamal, Ferran Torres (both Barcelona), Yeremi Pino (Villarreal), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad)



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