David de Gea’s potential replacement speaks out as Man Utd keeper suffers fresh setback


Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has been left out of the Spain squad for their upcoming friendlies as a difficult season for club and country continues

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Brentford goalkeeper David Raya has suggested “people are going to have an opinion” after earning a call-up to the Spain squad ahead of David de Gea.

Manchester United stopper De Gea was named in the squad for his country’s most recent World Cup qualifiers against Greece and Sweden in November. However, after a challenging few months at Old Trafford, with suggestions the Red Devils could move for Sevilla number one Yassine Bounou as his replacement, the 31-year-old has been left out by La Roja manager Luis Enrique.

Unai Simon, Spain’s starting keeper at Euro 2020, remains in the mix. However, the other two keepers in the squad are both Premier League regulars, with Raya joined by Brighton man Robert Sanchez.

De Gea has 45 caps for his country, but was an unused substitute for Spain’s most recent games. His last international appearance came back in 2020, during a Nations League defeat to Ukraine, but Raya still recognises the reaction to his inclusion ahead of the former Atletico Madrid man might not be universally popular.

“People are going to have an opinion, that’s for sure,” Raya told Cadena SER. There will be people who understand it and others who don’t. I’m very happy to have been selected. I’m very happy to have been selected, and I’m going to try to do my best

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Raya has received his first senior Spain call-up
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Raya, who was born in Barcelona, has spent his entire career in England after leaving Catalan side Cornella as a teenager. “I would like to make my debut in Barcelona, which is my home city, but if I make my debut, I am more than satisfied,” the 26-year-old said.

“It’s understandable. I’ve played most of my career in the Championship, a league that is hardly known in Spain. It’s understandable that there are people who don’t know who I am or have questions about me.”

The former Blackburn Rovers keeper made his 100th league appearance for Brentford this season after halping the Bees come up through the play-offs last season. After a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury, he returned to action in February.

De Gea has been an ever-present in the Premier League this season, restricting Dean Henderson to cup appearances under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick. However, the former Atletico Madrid man has conceded 40 goals in 29 games, with only one of the teams in the top half letting in more.

Spain will take on Iceland and Albania in their upcoming friendlies, having already booked their place at the World Cup in Qatar. Despite De Gea’s absence, there are still a number of Premier League representatives in the squad.

Marcos Alonso, Cesar Azpilicueta, Aymeric Laporte and Diego Llorente are all part of Luis Enrique’s squad, as is Manchester City midfielder Rodri. There is also room for former City duo Eric Garcia and Ferran Torres, while former Chelsea man Alvaro Morata is among the forwards.

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