STANDBY: Spain assemble standby players for Euros after Covid strikes
PA - Nick Potts
Spain assemble standby players including Leeds United striker Rodrigo after captain Sergio Busquets tests positive for coronavirus.
The group was put together after Spain’s scheduled friendly against Lithuania on Tuesday had to be cancelled because of Busquets falling victim to Covid-19, despite all other players and staff so far testing negative for the virus.
Players called up to this standby list will train in a parallel bubble to the 26-man squad originally selected by coach Luis Enrique. They flew out to Madrid on Tuesday afternoon ahead of Spain beginning their Euro 2020 campaign against Sweden.
Included in the group is Chelsea’s goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga who was signed by the Blues for a world-record fee for a stopper but his time at Stamford Bridge has been littered with some high-profile errors.
Leeds United’s record signing Rodrigo has also landed in Madrid with the classy forward impressing in his debut season for Marcelo Bielsa’s men. The other man from the Premier League who is now on standby is West Ham United’s attacking midfielder Pablo Fornals. The other players are Carlos Soler, Brais Mendez and Raul Albiol.
The RFEF said: "In addition, once the game against Lithuania is over, a small group of footballers yet to be confirmed will join the training sessions of the senior team under the same conditions as the previous ones.
"They will train at different times and will not mix in any case with those already called up."
UEFA will be hoping this is an isolated incident after having to delay the European Championships by a year because of the pandemic. The last thing they will want is for it to be a tournament remembered for countries having to follow Spain and assemble standby players because of illness.
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