Spain omit Diego Costa, Ander Herrera for Belarus qualifier
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque has decided against choosing Chelsea centre-forward Diego Costa or Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera in his latest squad, while handing first call-ups to Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico and winger Aleix Vidal.
Spain play a friendly at home to Costa Rica in Leon on June 11, before travelling to Belarus for a Euro 2016 qualifier three days later.
Brazil-born Costa's participation with Spain has been controversial from the start, and lead to a public exchange of words between Del Bosque and Blues coach Jose Mourinho last autumn, and had missed La Roja's most recent internationals through injury.
Despite appearing in Chelsea's last two Premier League games, the physical centre-forward was not quite fit enough to be called up again now, Del Bosque told a news conference as he announced his squad.
"The Diego Costa case is a unique one, he has played two games, but not full games," Del Bosque said. "He has just come back from muscle injuries, and is not fully right. These games are not just to experiment, we have a key game in Belarus, and want players in the best condition, with no doubts. We still value him highly, but not bringing him this time. It was the same with [Paco] Alcacer in the last squad, he had some issues so we preferred not to bring him."
Del Bosque was also asked about Herrera and Genoa's Iago Falque, two youngsters who have shone for their clubs towards the end of the 2014-15 campaign.
"Fortunately we are in the day to day, minute to minute, of all players, we are able to watch their games on the TV," he said. "We follow everyone, and both have played underage games for Spain, so we are watching them."
Bayern Munich playmaker Thiago Alcantara, who has not played for Spain since before the 2014 World Cup due to injury, again missed out for fitness reasons, Del Bosque said.
"Thiago has some physical issues, and has not played the last game with his club," he said. "We have spoken with the doctors and decided not to take him this time. A muscle injury is very tricky and we have an important game. But we are counting on him for the future."
Sevilla pair Rico and Vidal, along with their teammate Vitolo, are being rewarded for their performances as their club has reached Wednesday's Europa League final.
"[Rico] is a young kid, playing a great season, all the way up to tomorrow's final in Warsaw," Del Bosque said. "He deserves to be here, thinking of the future. Vidal is a winger, we do not have too many. He played up front against Fiorentina, and did very well. He has come on well over this season."
Spain are currently second in Group C, three points behind group leaders Slovakia, and three ahead of third placed Ukraine. Del Bosque criticised the scheduling of a key qualifying game for three weeks beyond the end of the La Liga season, but said he must accept the reality and prepare properly.
"Almost all the games that Spain national team come at a bad time, although it pains me to say it," he said. "It is hard to understand, but all teams play on the same dates. We must not complain, must adapt to the circumstances. Some players will be three weeks without playing, so we are bringing some in between June 1-5 for a mini-camp, along with some youngsters, to have players who have been training. We must be concerned about Belarus, give them full respect, and prepare well. This is a super-important game to be in France 2016."
Del Bosque said that Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, currently out with a calf muscle injury, and Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas, who is set for an operation on his nose, should be both be fine to join the training camp.
"We will see how Sergio [Ramos] is," he said. "We also have a small problem with Fabregas, he will have an operation on his nose. But we hope to have them both on June 1."
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), David De Gea (Manchester United), Sergio Rico (Sevilla).
Defenders: Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Marc Bartra (Barcelona), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Juan Bernat (Bayern Munich), Mikel San Jose (Athletic Bilbao)
Midfielders: Koke (Atletico), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Isco (Real Madrid), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Vitolo (Sevilla), Aleix Vidal (Sevilla)
Forwards: Paco Alcacer (Valencia), Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Nolito (Celta).
Five uncapped youngsters called up for training camp:
Jony (Celta Vigo), Ruben Duarte (Espanyol), Juanmi (Malaga), Jose Gaya (Valencia) and Saul Niguez (Atletico).