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Lopetegui on Isco's lack of playing time: "I have faith in him"

The Real Madrid forward has managed just 57 minutes of league football this season but has been included in the Spain squad to face Italy and Albania.Macedonia-Spain live online

Lopetegui on Isco's lack of playing time: "I have faith in him"

Isco’s inclusion in Julen Lopetegui’s squad to face Italy and Albania in Spain’s upcoming World Cup qualifying fixtures came as a surprise to many given that the forward has found playing time hard to come by this season.

Isco included despite lack of playing time

The Andalusian has played just 57 minutes of league football for Real Madrid this year and his place in the squad was considered to be at risk. His lack of playing time, however, has not deterred Lopetegui.

Isco hasn’t played much. It is worrying but I have faith in him and I know he can contribute a lot,” said the coach on Friday morning following the announcement of the squad.

Isco has struggled to get off the bench for Real Madrid this season

Morata and Vázquez also included, Asensio to the U21s

Real Madrid teammates Álvaro Morata and Lucas Vázquez, who have also struggled for playing time, were also included while Marco Asensio was selected instead for the U21 squad as they prepare to face San Marino and Estonia in qualifiers for the U21 European Championships in 2017.

Fàbregas continues to be overlooked

Among a number of surprises in the squad, Cesc Fàbregas continues to be overlooked. Loptegui says that his decision to omit the Catalan midfielder from his squad wasn’t purely based on his lack of playing time and difficult start to the season at Chelsea under Antonio Conte. “We like a lot of players and they can’t all play,” he said.