Spain call up De Gea for World Cup qualifiers

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has been included in Spain's squad for this month's World Cup qualifiers against Finland and France, coach Vicente del Bosque said on Friday.

De Gea, 22, who has been called up before but has yet to make an appearance for the world and European champions, has been brought in as cover for injured captain Iker Casillas and will compete for the keeper's spot with Liverpool's Pepe Reina and Victor Valdes of Barcelona.

De Gea has come in for some criticism since moving to Old Trafford from Atletico Madrid for around 20 million euros in 2011, with his slight build cited as a weakness.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has stood by him, however, and praised the Spaniard after a fine performance in United's Champions League last 16, first leg at Real Madrid last month.

There was no place in Del Bosque's 24-man squad for misfiring Chelsea striker Fernando Torres or Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez.

Torres's Chelsea team-mate Cesar Azpilicueta, Manchester City midfielder Javi Garcia and Malaga playmaker Isco were included as Del Bosque continues his policy of promoting younger players while maintaining an experienced base.

"We are bringing the players who deserve to be here," Del Bosque told a news conference at the Spanish football federation (RFEF) headquarters outside Madrid.

"It's our goal to continually inject new blood into the team," he added.

"We will have time to see in what condition the three keepers are when they arrive, three great keepers."

Spain and France, who meet in Paris on March 26, are level on seven points at the top of Group I after three matches. Spain host winless Finland, who are bottom, in Gijon next Friday.

Del Bosque said Martinez and Torres had been left out because they had not been on top form in recent months.

Barca playmaker Xavi has been included despite a series of recent muscle injuries but is likely to miss the Finland game, the coach added.


Goalkeepers: Victor Valdes (Barcelona), Pepe Reina (Liverpool), David De Gea (Manchester United).

Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Ignacio Monreal (Arsenal), Raul Albiol (Real Madrid).

Midfielders: Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Xavi (Barcelona), Isco (Malaga), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Javi Garcia (Manchester City).

Forwards: David Villa (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla), Pedro (Barcelona), Juan Mata (Chelsea), Jesus Navas (Sevilla).