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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Del Bosque to give Villa every chance

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque will give injured Barcelona striker David Villa "until the last moment" to prove his fitness for this summer's European Championships.

Villa, 30, underwent surgery last December after fracturing his left shinbone at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, and was expected to be sidelined for around five months.

Speaking at a press conference in Madrid on Friday morning, Del Bosque said he would give Villa - Spain's all-time record scorer - every chance to be involved in Poland and Ukraine.

"We are hanging on every day but have no definitive answers,'' he said. "We need to evaluate the fitness of the players. The last stretch of the season is important. We must see who will be the best for our game.

"We look at all scenarios regarding David Villa. Yesterday I spoke with his coach. We know the score. We are obliged to wait until the last moment for our frontman and proven goalscorer.''

Barca coach Pep Guardiola also spoke of Villa's progress on Friday at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's Primera Division game against Espanyol.

"Villa is getting better all the time,'' he said. "He almost has no pain. Hopefully he can be in the national team (for Euro 2012). It won't be me who takes away his hope, but Del Bosque has a difficult decision because he has very good players.

"The recovery is on schedule and both he and the coaches have done a good job. He has shown great character.''

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