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Jun 14, 2013

Del Bosque praises Casillas form

Vicente Del Bosque has said he does not feel Iker Casillas' long spell on the Real Madrid bench has affected his form - but reports suggest Victor Valdes will start Spain's opening Confederations Cup game against Uruguay on Sunday.

Casillas has captained Spain to victory at their last three major international tournaments, keeping seven consecutive knock-out game clean sheets.

However, he has not played a competitive game since January amid what reports described as a "feud" with former Bernabeu coach Jose Mourinho and the good form shown by his club replacement, Diego Lopez.

Valdes played superbly in Spain's key World Cup qualifier in Paris in March, keeping a clean sheet as France were beaten 1-0.

Del Bosque gave playing time to both 'keepers and Liverpool's Pepe Reina during Spain's two recent warm-up friendlies against Haiti and Ireland, and Casillas impressed with two superb stops against the Irish.

The coach said a lengthy spell on the sidelines had not appeared to hinder the Madrid man, but insisted a decision on who would start against Uruguay had not yet been made.

"From the first day, we have not seen much effect from Casillas' break from action," he explained. "His personal behaviour is correct.

"Any decision we take, in one way or another, I do not believe would be an error because all three are magnificent keepers."

According to reporters attending Thursday's training session in Recife, Valdes played alongside the presumed first-choice back four of Alvaro Arbeloa, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos and Jordi Alba.

The blaugrana shot-stopper has also been chosen as one of the players due to speak at Spain's scheduled post-training conference later on Friday.

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