The not-quite Spain XI
They were some of the brightest prospects in Spanish football but never quite lived up to early promise. They'd still give you a game though...
Some of the most exciting young talent in Spanish football started out with honours in the Spanish junior ranks but few ever made it to the senior side. This is the Spain XI that at one stage seemed set to make up the basis of today’s squad but have now been all-but forgotten in terms of international football.
Miguel Ángel Moyá (keeper; Atlético Madrid): Moyá was one of the stand-out keepers in the junior Spain sides, winning the under-16 and under-19 European Championship. He has not yet earned a senior cap.
Miguel Torres (right back; Málaga): A product of the Real Madrid academy, he made his debut for the side in 2006 and was part of the first team squad until 2009. In 2007 he made his debut for the under-21s against England.
Alberto Botía (central defender; Olympiacos): Botía was snapped up from Murcia by Barcelona and schooled at La Masía, where he was at one stage projected to be one of Europe’s finest centre halves. A regular fixture in the under-21s, he was part of the side that won the 2011 European Championship and subsequently received a call-up to the full squad under Vicente del Bosque but never made his debut.
Álvaro Domínguez (central defender; Borussia Mönchengladbach): A product of the Atlético academy he played alongside Botía in the 2011 Euro-winning side and received his only call-up under Vicente del Bosque in 2012, making his debut in a friendly against Serbia.
Didac Vila (left back; AEK Athens): From his youth days at Espanyol, Vila went on to play for AC Milan, Betis and Eibar and was a youth international in the under-19s, under-20s and under-21s.
Javi García (central midfielder; Zenit St Petersburg): García shone at Castilla and after his performances for the under-19s in the European Championship in Poland he got his first team chance under Fabio Capello, going on to play for Benfica and Manchester City. He won his only senior cap in the same match as Domínguez.
Esteban Granero (central midfielder; Real Sociedad): Another of the jewels in Castilla’s Crown, Granero represented the under-21s but never received a senior call-up.
José Manuel Jurado (right wing; Espanyol): Jurado made his debut for Real Madrid in 2005 and then moved to Atlético and subsequently Mallorca, Schalke, Spartak Moscow and Watford. Despite 18 appearances for the under-21s, he never made it to the full side.
Diego Capel (left wing; Anderlecht): One of the stars of Sevilla’s academy, Capel won several honours with Spani’s junior sides and made his debut for the seniors in 2008 under Del Bosque.
Manu del Moral (forward; Numancia): After signing for Atlético from Jaén, Del Moral went on to play for Getafe, Sevilla, Elche, Eibar and Valladolid. He made his full debut in 2011, coming on as a substitute for David Villa, for his only Spain cap.
Bojan (forward; Stoke City): Schooled in La Masía, Bojan was one of the pearls of the academy and of the junior Spain sides after shining at the under-17 World Cup in South Korea. In 2008 he became Spain’s youngest-ever debutant, shutting the door on Serbia’s hopes of persuading him to switch allegiance. In 2011, due to a lack of playing time at Barça, he moved to Roma and then Milan and Ajax before settling in the Potteries.