Spain boost for Fabregas
By Lucas Brown
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Cesc Fabregas has been called up to the Spain squad for the Ivory Coast match.
Cesc Fabregas has been called up to the Spain squad as Luis Aragones named an experimental party for the friendly against Ivory Coast in Valladolid on March 1.
The 18-year-old has seen his stature grow after joining Arsenal and has been touted as a possible replacement for injured Barcelona star Xavi, as the playmaker in the middle of the field.
After being voted Player of the Tournament and top goalscorer in the Under-17 World Championship in 2003, Fabregas netted a late winner against England to help Spain through to the final of the same event a year later.
His performances at both club and international level earned him a regular place in the Under-21 team and now his impressive displays in Arsene Wenger's side have seen Luis Aragones hand him a chance to impress before the World Cup in Germany in four months' time.
The Arsenal midfielder is joined in the squad by club team-mate Jose Antonio Reyes and Brazilian-born Marcos Senna, who opted to play for his adopted country having been given citizenship after joining Villarreal in 2002.
Guti is also recalled after an impressive season in the centre of Real Madrid's team having not played for the national team since he scored in the 5-0 win against San Marino in February last year.
After making his international debut in 1999, Guti missed out on the 2002 tournament in Japan and Korea due to an ankle injury and was overlooked for the European Championship in Portugal two years ago.
Four Liverpool players have been named with Jose Reina, Xabi Alonso, Luis Garcia and Fernando Morientes all receiving a chance, despite the latter duo not being regulars in Rafa Benitez's team.
One surprise omission is Barcelona's Victor Valdes who has been left out as Aragones has chosen to name only two goalkeepers in his 22-man squad for the match.
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Jose Reina (Liverpool); Pablo Ibanez (Atletico Madrid), Antonio Lopez (Atletico Madrid), Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Juanito (Betis), Joan Capdevila (Deportivo), Michel Salgado (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Carlos Marchena (Valencia); Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal), Xabi Alonso (Liverpool), Guti (Real Madrid), David Albelda (Valencia), Ruben Baraja (Valencia), Marcos Senna (Villarreal), Joaquin (Real Betis); Jose Antonio Reyes (Arsenal), Fernando Torres (Atletico Madrid), Luis Garcia (Liverpool), Fernando Morientes (Liverpool), David Villa (Valencia).