Madrid:�The first group of 18 footballers named by Spain coach Vicente del Bosque to prepare for the European Championships have started training at the headquarters of the country's football federation.
The 18 arrivals are seven members of Del Bosque's 23-man squad for the Euros and 11 promising youngsters called to help with preparations, but there is nobody whose side was involved in Cup action this weekend, or anyone from Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid, who meet in next Saturday's Champions League final, reports Xinhua.
Players such as David de Gea, Thiago Alcantara, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Rico, Jordi Alba Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets will join their international team-mates on May 28, while players from the two Madrid sides, including Sergio Ramos, Juanfran Torres, Dani Carvajal and Saul Niguez will come a week later.
None of them will play in Spain's first preparation game for this summer's tournament, which is against Bosnia-Herzegovina on May 29th, although everyone with the exception of the Madrid players should be able to face South Korea on June 1st and everyone will be available for the final preparation game, which sees Spain take on Georgia on June 7th.
This match comes just six days before the Spanish kick off their title defence against the Czech Republic in Toulouse.
"I think we have a good side and although football changes rapidly, I have faith in this side. We have some important players missing, but the youngsters are coming through. We know we are a good side and we have to show on the pitch that we are good enough to win," said midfielder Cesc Fabrigas on his arrival here on Monday.
Meanwhile David Silva said that although Spain had a "good side", they would have to go "step by step and with humility".
In order to cover for the absences Del Bosque has named 11 young players who will train alongside his squad and who could play in the opening friendly games. These include names such as Inaki Williams and Denis Suarez, who are considered some of the most promising players in Spain at the moment.
"I was surprised to be the call, but I am excited to come and it has been a reward for a good season. I hope that I can make my debut in one of the friendly games," said Villarreal midfielder Suarez.(IANS)