Fabregas Set For Showdown With Macedonia In Euro Qualifier

Febregas
Febregas

Spain head coach, Vicente Del Bosque, will not over look opponents ahead of their opening Euro 2016 qualifier with Macedonia.

Cesc Fabregas says he feels like an important senior player for Spain as La Roja step into a new era in Monday’s opening Euro 2016 qualifier at home to Macedonia.

Fabregas, 27, has won 92 caps for his country since making his debut in 2006 as a teenager, and played a part in the Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012 wins.

However, the former Arsenal and Barcelona player has previously not been sure of a starting space due to the presence of older midfielders Xavi Hernandez and Xabi Alonso in the Spain squad.

With Xavi and Alonso, along with others including David Villa, having retired following the summer’s disastrous World Cup in Brazil, Chelsea’s summer signing said he is now at the perfect age to become a leader in a new-look La Roja team.

“Xavi is irreplaceable and so is Villa,” Fabregas told a news conference. “But the new players bring new things. We know who we are, and what we want to do. I came here aged 18, and now I am 27. I have built up a lot of experience and I am at a perfect age now. For that I feel this is a good time for me, and consider myself an important player with the national team.”

Not all of Spain’s older players have moved on, however, with captain Iker Casillas set to return to the starting lineup for Monday’s game at Levante’s Ciutat de Valencia stadium and win his 157th senior cap.

Fabregas accepts that Casillas has undergone difficult moments with Real Madrid, but believes the long-serving national captain still has plenty to offer his country.

“Casillas looks committed to me, very motivated and dedicated,” he said. “We all know he has had delicate moments with his club, but here with the national team he looks happy. With his character he is one of the players who, if he feels he cannot give any more, he would have the dignity to leave it, but that moment has not yet arrived for him. He looks very good to me.”

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, who impressed against France while winning just his second senior cap last week, told El Larguero that he feels accepted within the squad, while he realises he might have to wait a while longer to gain a regular starting spot.

“Some very young people are coming in, who I have played with for many years in the underage teams,” De Gea said. “In the end I feel like just one more player, very confident. It is very easy to fit into a group like this. Iker still has years to play at his level, he is still relatively young for a goalkeeper.”

Young Valencia striker Paco Alcacer is set to make his full debut for Spain against Macedonia, given Diego Costa’s hamstring injury.

And the 21-year-old told a news conference last night that he must be prepared to take his chance if it comes.

“I do not know if I am going to play, the boss decides that,” Alcacer said. “What I have to do is be ready for when I get the opportunity. Before, there were Diego Costa and me, but Diego had to leave [the squad due to injury]. There are also many other players who can do well in front of goal.”

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