Del Bosque hails English influence

 

Vicente Del Bosque believes the exposure of Spanish players to the Barclays Premier League has helped the national team become the dominant force in world football.

Spain meet England in a friendly at Wembley tomorrow evening grateful for the experience accumulated on these shores by the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres.

Del Bosque insists their time in England has helped world and European champions Spain overcome their "complex" at international level.

"It's been absolutely vital that we've had such a crop of players play in the Premier League, and young players too," said the coach.

"I've always said it's been one of the key factors that's helped us achieve our success at international level.

"By travelling abroad and having players in different leagues like the Premier League has enabled us to shed that complex that we always used to have when playing at international level."

Barcelona midfielder Xavi agreed that the willingness of players to move to English clubs has been of enormous benefit to Spain.

"It can only be a good thing for the national side that our players get to travel and play abroad," he said.

"In the case of the Premier League you have the likes of David Silva, Pepe Reina and Fernando Torres who have played here.

"They've benefited from the high tempo and physicality of the English game.

"That's brought positives to the Spanish national side.

"Over the last decade we've seen more and more Spaniards play abroad.

"That's never happened before and is positive for the national team."

Del Bosque insists England remain formidable opponents, despite their disciplinary and injury problems and regardless of whether coach Fabio Capello opts to select Wayne Rooney.

"The English side are being a little bit too modest about themselves," he said.

"England have a great team that is skilful, powerful and physically strong.

"As ever when you are playing England, tomorrow will be a challenge against a very good side.

"Whoever England put out tomorrow, even if it's an experimental side, it will be the right team.

"We have nothing but good feeling for Fabio in Spain, we know him well.

"He might be playing a game in saying he won't play Rooney, but he'll pick a strong team with or without Rooney."

Del Bosque believes defending Spain's position as champions at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine next summer will be more challenging than winning it in the first place.

"We're in a much more difficult position now than in 2008," he said.

"Back then we were contenders, going there full of high hopes of putting in a good performance.

"We put in a excellent performance thanks to the players and management.

"However, now we go there as holders and that means we have even greater responsibility.

"There is also a greater selection of top sides around than maybe a few years ago.

"Teams like Holland, Germany, Italy, England and France will be there - it's a tall order against such quality opposition."

PA

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