Spain women’s national team squad may see the return of the 15 players who rejected the team
Spain’s penultimate squad list before the World Cup may bring with it some significant surprises in terms of the selected players.
Another countdown has begun in the national team. In just two weeks’ time, the squad list for the upcoming international break in April will be revealed, in which the team will go up against Norway and China in Ibiza. It is not a regular international break, however, as it is the final time before the team travels to Australia and New Zealand for the World Cup. Spain will not meet up again before June, when Jorge Vilda will announce the pre-list and the final squad for the tournament.
For that reason there is no time to lose when it comes to the case of ‘the 15′. The future of some of the best players in Spain is up in the air. A World Cup is waiting; it is all or nothing for them and their country.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel
The situation is still being kept under wraps - at less than 5 months to go until the World Cup - for those 15 players who rejected the national team managed by Jorge Vilda. But there is a new development: the chance that a message is sent to announce that they are once again available for selection is indeed real. With this, the entire situation would be turned on its head. As told by El País and confirmed by AS, some specific pieces in the puzzle are already being moved. Through agents and representatives, various players have shown to be moving closer to returning to the squad; this would make them available for selection in April.
What is true is that the ‘team’ dynamic regarding the nature of the decision has changed. No longer would it be a group email or a group decision but an individual one, as some players are still not so sure about the situation. The players, in any case, do not feel comfortable coming back for free and there have been requests to the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) regarding changes.
Requests have been made for improvements
They know that they would have to deal with Jorge Vilda and his staff, but they have asked for better conditions in terms of travel, rest and top-level training sessions; there has been no response as of yet. Other players are thinking of sending a message which would make them directly and immediately available for Jorge Vilda to add them to his squad.
The clock is counting down for everyone involved: in just two weeks the squad list will be made public. The message of wanting to be made available for selection would have to go straight to the RFEF, meaning that April’s decisions are no laughing matter; there is no time to lose with ‘the 15′. As mentioned, the future of some of the best Spanish footballers is on the line.
The timeline of ‘the 15′
Just weeks after Spain’s Euro 2022 dream ended in June at the hands of eventual winners England, three of the heavyweights in the squad called the RFEF to make known their unhappiness with Jorge Vilda and his staff. Luis Rubiales, the head of the RFEF, was clear: Vilda is going nowhere. The players returned to the squad in September, albeit with a completely different air in the building.
Although at the beginning it appeared as though all the players had joined together to show their discontent, the group fell apart. In October, news broke that 15 international players had sent an email to the RFEF asking to not be made available for selection with the national team. Since then, they have not returned.
The curious case of Irene, Jenni and Alexia
In the case of Irene Paredes, Jenni Hermoso and Alexia Putellas, things are different. As for the latter, she was injured and as such would not have participated anyway. Regarding the other two, also captains of the side, it was simply because they went about things in a more direct way. They did not participate in the letters sent to the Federation and that is why they will not have to send one in order to be up for selection. The Pachuca striker, Jenni Hermoso, returned in February to the squad with care and caution. She did so through an internal route, with no need for letters or emails to anyone.
The same thing will happen with Alexia. She was not a part of the 15 players and she did not ask not to be called up to the squad. An ACL injury kept her out of things and at a safe distance from the firing line. Her return to playing is drawing nearer every day and she could well be back to her best by the time the World Cup comes around so she can lead Spain in the way a Ballon d’Or player should. She is, without a doubt, the star of the side.
In a few days from now, the return of some star players will be confirmed. After 5 months of trouble, arguments, angry press conferences, leaked information, secret messages and sad faces, the light at the end of the tunnel is (finally) appearing to move closer. But some others will have missed the train forever.
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