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Spanish Football manager Luis Enrique revealed a strong squad for Croatia, England matches

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Spanish Football manager Luis Enrique revealed a strong squad for Croatia, England games
Luis Enrique, during the press conference in which he announced his first squad, on August 31, 2018 (collected)

On Friday, Luis Enrique unveiled his first squad, with Jordi Alba and Koke of Atletico Madrid the major absentees for their UEFA Nations League matches against Croatia and England.

Luis Enrique, who is without the recently retired trio, Andres Iniesta, David Silva and Gerard Pique, suggested his philosophy would be evolution, rather than revolution when he took charge last month.

On his first term in office, Luis Enrique kept the core of young players who worked with his predecessor, Julen Lopetegui, and for the first time quoted players such as Pau Lopez, Jose Gaya, and Dani Ceballos.

“I have not intended to make a revolution, but to make an evolution of what has been the style is necessary,” said the former Barcelona coach in a press conference.

“The style will be the same, in terms of possession. If we compare ourselves with the best version of the selection we will now be inferior,” he added.

“Our style will remain the same, looking to dictate games, but we need to put our own little touches to it,” he told a news conference.

“We aren’t going to compare ourselves to past Spain squads who won stuff, but rather the teams we are going to face, and in that sense, I don’t think we’re inferior to anyone.

“I’ll be playing a 4-3-3 (formation), which is the style I like, but we aren’t closing the door to anyone.”

Marcos Alonso was rewarded for his good start to the Premier League season with Chelsea and appeared on the 24-player squad, as were his teammates Alvaro Morata, Cesar Azpilicueta and Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, who was widely criticised during the Spanish campaign in the last World Cup, kept his place in the squad, which also highlights the presence of Barcelona midfielder Sergi Roberto, who was not quoted by Lopetegui for the World Cup.

Spain will play against England at Wembley on 8 September before hosting Croatia three days later.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea), Pau Lopez (Betis)

Defenders: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Nacho (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Diego Llorente (Real Sociedad), Inigo Martinez (Athletic Club), Jose Gaya (Valencia), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Marcos Alonso (Chelsea), Raul Albiol (Napoli)

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Sergi Roberto (Barcelona), Rodrigo (Atletico), Saul Niguez (Atletico), Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich)

Forwards: Isco (Real Madrid), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Diego Costa (Atletico), Rodrigo Moreno (Valencia), Alvaro Morata (Chelsea), Suso (AC Milan)