Strikers Pedro and Negredo secure Spanish spots

Barcelona forward Pedro has been rewarded for his two goals in the Copa del Rey final on Friday by being included in Spain’s 23-man squad for the European Championships.

Sevilla’s Alvaro Negredo was also selected among manager Vicente del Bosque’s strikers, meaning there was no place for Roberto Soldado or Adrian Lopez despite the latter’s goalscoring debut against Serbia on Saturday.

Atletico Madrid’s Juanfran is included thanks in part to an injury suffered by Andoni Iraola in the cup final and Cesc Fabregas also makes it despite being ruled out for just over a week with a hamstring strain.

Del Bosque fielded five debutants in the 2-0 win over Serbia and of those, Adrian made the strongest impression as he opened the scoring and won the penalty from which Santi Cazorla sealed the victory.

The coach said: “All those that have been with us can feel a little hurt, but in August there are new squads. They need to be aware that they are very close to the national team.

“The seven that have been left out are a little upset, but it was unthinkable that someone would debut and then come with us.

“We always had Pedro in mind. He has had an irregular season like many others, but we valued his trajectory over the medium term and for this reason we have taken him. We need wide players that are efficient and can complement the bench.

“I didn’t have the Olympics in mind when it came to Adrian. Mata and Javi Martinez will be in the same position. We have preferred other options, but we recognise that he has been brilliant in these days with us.

“Negredo and Soldado are two extraordinary and distinct players. One is quicker but the other offers more to the play of the team.”

Del Bosque also reflected on how the squad had evolved since winning the World Cup in South Africa two years ago, but again lamented the absence of David Villa and Carles Puyol through injury.

“Villa is irreplaceable, for his characteristics and effectiveness no one can do better than him,” he said. “We feel the same with Puyol.

“We have come four years since the last Euros and there has been a 50% change in what was a relatively young squad. There were seven changes before South Africa and three since.

“Groups have to go and be filled with new people but we have a plenitude of players and I don’t expect such a generation to last. However, we cannot have any doubt in these players.”

Finally, the former Real Madrid boss touched on those who did not make the squad due to last-minute injuries, as well as Fabregas’ hamstring strain.

“In the case of Cesc the doctors are optimistic. We didn’t believe there was any chance of not naming him.

“Thiago Alcantara has a problem of certain importance that also puts his participation in the Olympics in doubt and in the case of Iraola, he has all our appreciation but it seems he has been playing with a great desire but is not physically right.”


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