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Arsene Wenger's Arsenal reign in numbers

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Torres: Mata doesn't need to worry

Fernando Torres has backed his club and international team-mate Juan Mata, who has admitted to being unhappy at not being selected for this week's qualifiers, to soon return and become an important member of the Spain squad.

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Mata this week said he was upset at being left out by Spanish coach Vicente Del Bosque, but Torres feels his friend should not be concerned as he has a big future on the international stage.

"He is sad not to come," Torres said. "But considering the level he is playing at, he does not need to worry. I am sure that he has a very good present and future with this team, and that he will be very important."

When announcing his 23-man squad for Friday's qualifier in Belarus and Tuesday's game at home to France, Del Bosque said his problem was "quantity not quality" given the array of talent available to the current world and European Champions.

Torres, who himself was dropped from the national squad last spring during a poor spell of form at Chelsea, echoed this view by pointing out that many Spanish players who are stars for their clubs - such as Arsenal's Santi Cazorla - were not always regulars with their national team.

"These days it takes a lot to be chosen for 'la Seleccion'," he said. "We have very versatile players and that is useful considering the style we play. We have the good fortune to have many more than 23 capable players.

"We know how hard it is to be left out and we must feel very lucky. It is difficult for players who are icons at their clubs to be left on the bench, but that is the greatness of this team and maybe the difference between Spain and other countries."

Tuesday's qualifier against France is being played at Atletico Madrid's Estadio Vicente Calderon, where Torres was a fans' favourite before his move to Liverpool in 2007.

"It is a special stage for me, it is the first time that I will be back there," he said. "It is a long time since I left and it could not be better than to return in front of our fans, playing with the national team against France. I am happy about that."


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