Big decisions due for Vicente del Bosque

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If Roy Hodgson thought his lot was a bad one – having to deal with a nasty tabloid press out to get him before a single England match, not to mention needing to pick Stewart Downing – it’s small beer, chips and sausages compared what Vicente del Bosque is having to put up with.

True, the Spain manager can enjoy the wholehearted backing of everyone in the country, what with having won the World Cup, and can also choose from some of the best players on the planet, a considerably happier situation that confronts his English counterpart.

However, due to the lack of planning skills of the Spanish FA, Del Bosque can't choose his final squad for the Euros until about 20 minutes before the first match kicks off. With the Copa del Rey taking place a day before Spain's first warm-up game, Del Bosque will be unable to train or select any Barcelona or Athletic Bilbao players – a not inconsiderable chunk of the squad’s make-up.

This has meant that Del Bosque has had to pick a provisional provisional squad – perhaps the only explanation as to why Atlético Madrid players feature for the first time under the moustachioed man’s tenure. “I’m not about clubs, I’m about players,” noted Del Bosque in an interview in Friday’s Marca, saying that there hadn't previously been any Rojiblancos good enough.

As LLL checks earlier blog entries in case hat-eating is required, Atlético full-back Juanfran has been called into the team – presumably to be rejected at a suitable subsequent moment – along with Adrían and Álvaro Domínguez. Also called up is Beñat of Betis.

However, Del Bosque is still his normal uncomplaining self, despite probably missing Carles Puyol, dealing with an out-of-form Gerard Piqué and sweating on a hobbling David Villa. “It’s a special case, but we have to think with clear heads before making the decision,” admitted the Spain manager on whether or not the Barça striker will make the final squad, to be announced on May 29th.

A posse of other Spanish managers are also in the news this week, in a more domestic context. Sevilla have signed up Míchel for another season, despite the former Getafe man failing to qualify for Europe last year whilst Joaquín Caparrós has been persuaded to stay on for another campaign in Mallorca, on the grounds that it's probably a pleasant, peaceful life there.

Manolo Jiménez looks like staying on at Zaragoza, despite his reported demands that the club make an effort with the youth system and that he and and his team have more control over hirings and firings.

Rayo are set to have talks with José Ramón Sandoval next week over his future, whilst Valencia have already admitted that new boss Mauricio Pellegrino wasn't the first choice to take over – LLL suspects the Argentinian wasn’t even the second or third – with sporting director Braulio Vásquez revealing that the top man for the job was André Villas Boas, but the Portuguese ended up turning down the chance to be Mestalla manager for some strange reason.