MADRID: Luis Enrique named potential debutants Borja Iglesias and Nico Williams in his Spain squad on Friday for the Nations League games against Switzerland and Portugal next week, while leaving out Ansu Fati.
Striker Iglesias, 29, has been in good form for Real Betis with four goals in La Liga this season, while Athletic Bilbao’s Williams, 20, has also been called up for the first time.
His brother Inaki Williams was given one Spain cap but opted to declare for World Cup qualifiers Ghana in July.
“Pure wingers need to learn how to play inside, and Nico is learning that,” said Luis Enrique.
“He has great pace to overload defenses. We’re taking advantage to get to watch him first hand.
“I know Borja well from when I was at Celta Vigo (as coach) and he was in the B team. He’s been playing well for a while, he has the level to play as Spain’s striker, he can link the play, score goals, he’s very powerful.”
Barcelona forward Fati was a regular for Luis Enrique previously but is still finding fitness and form after a long spell out injured with a knee problem.
Marco Asensio has barely featured for Real Madrid this season, but was included after scoring as a substitute in the 2-0 Champions League win over RB Leipzig on Wednesday.
Veteran defender Sergio Ramos was on the pre-list according to reports in Spain, after returning from injury at Paris Saint-Germain, but was not included and so will not be able to add to his record 180 caps.
“It’s great news to see Ramos back after over a year out,” added Luis Enrique. “Now he is competing and doing it consistently... but I think the best options to play in the center of defense are the central defenders I’ve picked, and the rest is just smoke.”
This is the last international window ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, meaning it is a final chance for fringe players like Valencia defender Hugo Guillamon and new faces like Williams and Iglesias to convince Luis Enrique to take them to the tournament.
Spain are top of League A Group 2 with two wins and two draws from four games, leading Portugal by a point.
First they host Switzerland in Zaragoza on September 24, before heading to Braga for the second game against Fernando Santos’s Portugal on September 27, with whom they shared a 1-1 draw in June.
Spain reached the previous Nations League final but lost 2-1 to France in Milan in October 2021. This edition’s final four will take place in June 2023.
Goalkeepers: Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao), Robert Sanchez (Brighton & Hove Albion/ENG), David Raya (Brentford/ENG)
Defenders: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea/ENG), Eric Garcia, Jordi Alba (both Barcelona), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Diego Llorente (Leeds United/ENG), Hugo Guillamon (Valencia), Jose Gaya (Valencia)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Pedri, Gavi (all Barcelona), Rodri (Manchester City/ENG), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid), Carlos Soler (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA)
Forwards: Ferran Torres (Barcelona), Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid), Pablo Sarabia (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Yeremi Pino (Villarreal), Borja Iglesias (Real Betis), Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid)