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Maiden Spain call-up for Illarramendi as Pique and Ramos return

Asier Illarramendi could make his Spain debut after being included in Julen Lopetegui's squad for games against Israel and France.

AsierIllarramendi - Cropped
Real Sociedad midfielder Asier Illarramendi (L)

Julen Lopetegui has named the uncapped Asier Illarramendi in his 25-man squad for matches against Israel and France.

La Roja host Israel in a World Cup qualifier in Gijon on March 24 before a friendly with France in Paris four days later.

Real Sociedad midfielder Illarramendi, who spent two years at Real Madrid before returning to Anoeta in 2015, is the only player named in Lopetegui's party without any prior senior international experience.

Gerard Deulofeu, on loan at AC Milan from Everton, has earned a recall after his sole previous appearance against Bolivia three years ago, while the likes of Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos all return after missing games against Macedonia and England in November.

There is no place for Manchester United's Juan Mata, who had earned a recall for those matches, while Chelsea's Porto has been selected by Lopetegui for the first time.

"I know Illarramendi well," Lopetegui said in Friday's media conference. "It is suitable for him to be joining us at this time."

Spain squad in full:

Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (Napoli), Sergio Rico (Sevilla)

Defenders: Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal), Nacho (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Ander Herrera (Manchester United), Asier Illarramendi (Real Sociedad), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Isco (Real Madrid), Koke (Atletico Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City)

Forwards: Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Diego Costa (Chelsea), Gerard Deulofeu (AC Milan), Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid), Pedro (Chelsea), Vitolo (Sevilla).

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