Tue, 28 Mar 2023

MADRID, March 17 (Xinhua) -- New Spain coach Luis de la Fuente has made several changes from the squad named by his predecessor Luis Enrique for the World Cup in Qatar.

The former Under-21 coach on Friday handed returns to players such as Real Sociedad forward Mikel Oyarzabal, Villarreal striker Gerard Moreno and Athletic Club Bilbao defender Inigo Martinez, all of who were injured for Qatar, while also handing debut call-ups to several players.

Injury to Athletic Club keeper Unai Simon, who is Spain's undoubted first choice, has opened the door for Chelsea's Kepa Arrizabalaga to return to the squad after a good season in England.

Osasuna central defender David Garcia makes his debut, while Real Madrid's adaptable Nacho Fernandez returns, Tottenham right back Pedro Porro gets the chance to add to the single cap he has to his name and Jose Luis Gaya is back after an ankle injury forced him out days before the start of the World Cup.

Real Sociedad's Martin Zubimendi makes his debut in midfield and there is a recall for his team-mate Mikel Merino and Real Madrid's Dani Ceballos.

Spain struggled to convert possession into chances in Qatar and De la Fuente's solution is to give a debut to Espanyol striker Joselu, who has 12 goals this campaign and also hand a recall to Celta Vigo's mercurial veteran Iago Aspas, while winger Bryan Gil also returns to the squad.

Spain will entertain Norway on March 25th, before traveling to Scotland three days later for qualifying matches for the 2024 European Championships.

There has been intense interest over the squad since De la Fuente replaced Enrique in December after Spain's disappointment in the World Cup.

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