Chelsea star overlooked as Arsenal regular is called up to national team for first time since 2013

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Nacho Monreal has been called up to the Spanish national team in place of the injured Jordi Alba.

Alba was substituted early in the first-half of Spain’s 1-1 draw with Italy on Thursday, and his pain has proven to be Monreal’s gain.

Arsenal’s dependable left-back has not been selected for his country since 2013, but Julen Lopetegui has given him the nod ahead of his side’s World Cup qualifier against Albania, The Mirror reports.

It’s an indication of the former Porto boss’ faith in Monreal, as he opted to ignore Chelsea full-back Cesar Azpilicueta, who was a regular inclusion in the Spain squad under the leadership of Vicente Del Bosque.

Monreal has made 16 appearances for his country since his debut against Macedonia in 2009, but has struggled to force his way back into the national setup in the last three years.

Lopetegui’s appointment in July offered a fresh start to all Spanish players, and Monreal is just one of many who may benefit from the new gaffer’s open-mindedness.

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