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Spain squad announced: José Callejón the surprise inclusion

Isco, Morata and Lucás Vazquez have been included in the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Albania despite a lack of playing time at Real Madrid while Iker Casillas and Cesc Fàbregas continue to be overlooked.

Spain squad announced: José Callejón the surprise inclusion

Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has announced his squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Albania next week.

Iniesta returns, Callejón the big surprise

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta returns after recovering from the injury that kept him out of Lopetegui’s first squad earlier this month, while Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico, Nacho, Isco and José Callejón are also new additions.

Callejón’s inclusion is perhaps the biggest surprise; the Napoli forward hasn’t featured for Spain since late-2014 but his good form in Serie A has caught Lopetegui’s eye. “He’s been playing at a high level in Italy and he can help us,” said the coach at this morning’s press conference at the Spanish Federation’s base in Las Rozas on the outskirts of Madrid.

Premier League players overlooked

West Ham goalkeeper Adrián, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marc Bartra, Juan Mata and Paco Alcácer, who were included in his first squad, have all been overlooked, as has Real Madrid’s rising star Marco Asensio though Lopetegui confirmed that he’d be joining up with the U21 squad to face San Marino and Estonia.

The coach also, however, included Isco, Lucas Vázquez and Álvaro Morata, none of which has seen much playing time at the Santiago Bernabéu so far this season.

Casillas and Fàbregas still out in the cold

Two mainstays of Vicente del Bosque’s time in charge continue to be conspicuous by their absence. Iker Casillas, who Lopetegui coached last season at Porto, has been overlooked, as has Cesc Fàbregas. When asked about the Chelsea man, Lopetegui said that his absence wasn’t simply down to his lack of playing time under Antonio Conte: “we like a lot of players and they can’t all play.”

The squad in full

Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (Napoli) and Sergio Rico (Sevilla).

Defenders: Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Gerard Piqué (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Sergi Roberto (Barcelona), Nacho (Real Madrid) and Javi Martínez (Bayern Munich).

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Thiago Alcántara (Bayern Munich), Saúl Ñíguez (Atlético Madrid), Koke (Atlético Madrid), Isco (Real Madrid) and Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona).

Forwards: Álvaro Morata (Real Madrid), Lucas Vázquez (Real Madrid), Nolito (Manchester City), José Callejón (Napoli), Diego Costa (Chelsea) and Vitolo (Sevilla).