David de Gea is shocked to have replaced Iker Casillas in the Spain team…
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has admitted that he was surprised to learn he would start ahead of Iker Casillas in the Spain team for the start of his country’s Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.
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Real Madrid stopper Casillas has been a cornerstone of the Spanish team since making his international debut in 2000, and was an integral part of the side that won consecutive European Championships in 2008 and 2012, as well as the 2010 World Cup.
However, he has struggled to retain his place in the Madrid team over the last two seasons, and was highly criticised for his performances in Brazil earlier this year, as Spain’s World Cup defence ended in the group stage.
The 33-year-old has made 156 appearances for Spain, but could follow the likes of Xavi, Xabi Alonso, David Villa and Carles Puyol into international retirement if he fails to hold down his place in the team.
Spain manager Vincent del Bosque is building towards the future, and Manchester United keeper De Gea, who is viewed as one of the best young players for his position in the world, is a key part of his plans.
The 23-year-old has been capped twice thus far, and was part of his country’s squad in Brazil. Ahead of Spain’s opening Euro 2016 qualifier against Macedonia, De Gea confessed his surprise that he was given the nod ahead of his more experienced team-mate.
“I heard the talk before the game that I might start,” he told Cadena Cope. “It shocked me a little when it happened but I’m completely delighted with the decision.
“I do not think a lot about replacing Iker. He is still young for a goalkeeper and can still have plenty of years at the top level in football.
“It’s getting a little weird the way the team’s changed. Those players have carried Spain for many years and have been key to this team, but the young people pushing hard will do just as well.”
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