Spain coach Luis Enrique leaves De Gea and Busquets out for friendlies

Madrid, March 18 (IANS) Spain coach Luis Enrique has made a surprise decision to leave the Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea out of his squad for their two forthcoming international friendly matches and call up Brentford’s David Raya in his place.

The absence of De Gea, who has been in excellent form for his club this season, is one of two surprises in Luis Enrique’s squad, with the other being the decision to leave out FC Barcelona’s veteran midfielder Sergio Busquets.

Barcelona’s teenage midfielders Gavi and Pedri are both in the squad, as is Villarreal winger Yeremi Pino, while there is a recall for Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal after an injury sidelined him from recent squads, reports Xinhua.

Real Sociedad’s Mikel Oyarzabal was unavailable for selection after injuring his left knee on Wednesday and the forward will need an operation that leaves his participation in Qatar in doubt, while Athletic Club Bilbao defender Inigo Martinez also misses out with a hamstring problem.

Spain will play Albania at Espanyol’s stadium in Barcelona on March 26, before taking on Iceland in Deportivo la Coruna’s Riazor Stadium three days later as they start their preparations for the World Cup finals in Qatar at the end of the year.