Spanish newcomers vie for Euro 2012 spot

A fresh crop of Spanish players are vying for a spot on the reigning champions' squad for Euro 2012 during two pre-tournament friendlies over the coming week.

Malaga midfielder Francisco Roman Alarcon, better know as Isco, is bidding to impress coach Vicente del Bosque after being called up to the team's training camp in western Austria this week.

And the 20-year-old said he will be looking to make his mark when the world champions play a friendly against Serbia in St Gallen, Switzerland on Saturday, and South Korea in Bern on May 30.

"Qualifying for the best team in the world is hard but I'm hoping for the best and we'll see how it goes on Saturday," said Isco.

Athletic Madrid defender Juanfran, 22, agreed that bringing fresh blood into the team was vital if Spain are to retain their world and European titles.

"It's important to fight for a place (in the team) and also, as a group, to win further titles and not rest on our laurels," he said.

"The national team is the main thing in my life right now, I want to fight for a place and I hope I'll stay with it for a while."

Del Bosque called up a crop of new players for the team's Austrian camp as many of their stars are missing either through injury or this week's King's Cup final.

"There's a healthy competition. Everyone here wants to secure a place and be on the final list, but it's a positive kind of pressure," explained striker Alvaro Negredo, who has seven caps for Spain.

"There's a good mix, the atmosphere is very good and we work together well," said veteran defender Sergio Ramos.

With Barcelona captain Carles Puyol likely to miss Euro 2012, Ramos may have to take his role as central defender, but he insisted he was now confident in that position, despite traditionally playing right wing.

"This year, I played centre and had a good level so I feel very comfortable," said the Real Madrid player. He regretted however Puyol's absence: "an emblematic player for Barcelona as much as for the national team."

"It's more a group of friends who like to play football," added Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, who has been called up for the first time.


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