Nacho Monreal has been called up to the Spain squad for the first time in over three years to replace the injured Jordi Alba who hobbled out of Thursday’s 1-1 World Cup qualifier with Italy in Turin.
The full-back last featured for his country back in November 2013 but has been handed a return to international football by new coach Julen Lopetegui after Alba was forced out of the squad.
The Barcelona defender appeared to pick up a hamstring injury in the first half against Italy and was replaced after 22 minutes by Nacho. Spain took the lead in the game through Vitolo but a late Daniele De Rossi penalty salvaged a point for the hosts.
A statement on the RFEF the Spanish football federation’s official website confirmed the news, with Spain set to face Albania on Sunday.
“Arsenal full-back Ignacio Monreal has been selected by Julen Lopetegui,” an RFEF statement read. “[He] will join the squad in Shkoder tonight in order to be available with the rest of the squad for the game between Albania and Spain.”
Arsenal also took to Twitter to congratulate Monreal on his “well deserved” call up to the squad.
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Monreal is the only Gunner in the Spain squad but joins fellow Premier League stars David de Gea, Ander Herrera, David Silva, Diego Costa and Nolito in Lopetegui’s squad.
Hector Bellerin has been included in the Spain Under-21 squad although he is now waiting for a scan after picking up an ankle knock in training.
Monreal’s recall is a deserved return to the international fold and suggests his international career is far from over. Arsenal, meanwhile, will be hoping both he and Bellerin return from Spain duty unscathed.