Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Pepe Reina: Spain are so good, we don't need a striker


Although Giovanni Trapattoni expects Fernando Torres to start against his Republic of Ireland side tomorrow, Pepe Reina is confident Spain can do without his one-time Liverpool team-mate.

Spain began their opening game without a recognised forward, employing Cesc Fabregas as a "false nine" alongside Andres Iniesta and David Silva. Although the world and European champions struggled to break down the Italians in the first half, Reina expects them to repeat the tactic.

"I think we can play without a recognised striker because we created a lot of chances against Italy," said the Liverpool goalkeeper, who is third choice in Vicente del Bosque's squad.

"Fabregas has played as a striker before and he created a lot of space with some intelligent movement — and from one of those moves we scored. It was a positive thing."

Reina said he hoped the pitch at the PGE Arena in Gdansk would improve, although it remains to be seen whether Ireland will allow it to be watered – something Italy refused to do before Sunday's 1-1 draw in order to slow the pace of the game. For the surface to be watered, both sides must agree.

"They have got to do something," said Reina. "If they want a proper game of football, the pitch cannot be like it was on Sunday. It was unacceptable."

Reina welcomed the appointment of Brendan Rodgers to succeed Kenny , although he argued that the fourth Liverpool manager he will play under needed to be given time.

"I am very optimistic about the future," he said. "It is a good appointment and, hopefully, Liverpool can have a better season than they did last time. I watched quite a bit of Swansea last season and I always like my teams to play like that.

"It is my style and one that will be very good for Liverpool but he is going to need time to implement his ideas. It is not going to happen in the blink of an eye."