MADRID (Reuters) – New Spain coach Luis Enrique announced his first squad on Friday, with Barcelona’s Jordi Alba and Koke of Atletico Madrid the major absentees for their UEFA Nations League matches against Croatia and England.
Enrique, who is without the recently retired trio, Andres Iniesta, David Silva and Gerard Pique, suggested his philosophy would be evolution, rather than revolution when he took charge last month.
Building on the foundations laid by predecessor Julen Lopetegui, Enrique has retained a nucleus of young players – giving uncapped trio Pau Lopez, Jose Gaya and Dani Ceballos a first call-up.
Marcos Alonso was rewarded for his fine start to the Premier League season with Chelsea, while there were also spots in the 24-man squad for his club mates Alvaro Morata, Cesar Azpilicueta and Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Manchester United’s David de Gea, who was widely criticised during Spain’s torrid World Cup campaign, retains his place, while Barcelona’s Sergi Roberto is recalled after missing out on a place in Russia.
Spain play World Cup semi-finalists England at Wembley on Sept. 8 before hosting beaten finalists Croatia three days later.
Goalkepeers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea), Pau Lopez (Betis)
Defenders: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Nacho (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Diego Llorente (Real Sociedad), Inigo Martinez (Athletic Club), Jose Gaya (Valencia), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Marcos Alonso (Chelsea), Raul Albiol (Napoli)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Sergi Roberto (Barcelona), Rodrigo (Atletico), Saul Niguez (Atletico), Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich)
Forwards: Isco (Real Madrid), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Diego Costa (Atletico), Rodrigo Moreno (Valencia), Alvaro Morata (Chelsea), Suso (AC Milan)
(Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; Editing by Toby Davis)