MADRID (AP) — Young Barcelona playmaker Pedri was called up for Spain’s senior national team for the first time on Monday.
He was included in the 24-man list announced by coach Luis Enrique for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Greece, Georgia and Kosovo.
The 18-year-old Pedri, touted by some as the heir to Barcelona great Andrés Iniesta, has been a regular in Spain’s youth squads. He has been starting for Barcelona under coach Ronald Koeman this season.
“Pedri is an ambitious player but he plays with tranquility and clarity,” Luis Enrique said. “He has the ideal qualities to play in the midfield. He has the characteristics to play well both defensively and in attack. We have been watching him for some time. He can add a lot to the team. I’m looking forward to seeing him with us.”
Another newcomer called up was 23-year-old Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sánchez, who has been doing well in the Premier League after playing last season on loan at English third-division club Rochdale. Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was left out of the squad.
Other youngsters included in Luis Enrique’s list were Sporting Lisbon defender Pedro Porro, 21, and 20-year-old forward Bryan Gil, who plays for Eibar on a loan from Sevilla.
Veteran Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, coming off an injury, made the squad. Barcelona defender Jordi Alba, who hadn’t been called up often by Luis Enrique, did as well.
The coach said no one in this list is guaranteed for the 2021 European Championship, and that those who were left out will still have a chance to make it to the tournament.
Spain plays Greece on March 25, Georgia on March 28 and Kosovo on March 31.
Goalkeepers: David De Gea (Manchester United), Robert Sánchez (Brighton), Unai Simón (Athletic Club)
Defenders: Pedro Porro (Sporting Lisbon), Èric García (Manchester City), Diego Llorente (Real Sociedad), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Íñigo Martínez (Athletic Bilbao), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Jose Luis Gayà (Valencia)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Pedri (Barcelona), Rodri (Manchester City), Marcos Llorente (Atlético Madrid), Thiago Alcántara (Bayern Munich), Fabián Ruiz (Napoli), Sergio Canales (Real Betis), Koke Resurrección (Atlético Madrid), Dani Olmo (Leipzig)
Forwards: Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Bryan Gil (Eibar), Ferran Torres (Manchester City), Álvaro Morata (Juventus), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)
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