5 Premier League players who may not make Spain's World Cup squad
After the slow and often painful-to-watch ending of the Vicente Del Bosque era (the abysmal World Cup defence in 2014 and the slightly less embarrassing slogfest that was Euro 2016), new manager Julen Lopetegui seems to have brought a new lease of life to the Spanish national team.
La Furia Roja scaled through qualifying easily making short work of its group opponents which included an admittedly poor Italy side and have looked good in recent friendlies with the team beginning to play something close to the glorious football that was played at Euro 2008 under the late Luis Aragones
The Premier League has now become the second league of choice for Spanish talent as the wealth and the eagerness of fans and managers to lap up the special qualities of the Spaniards has meant that quite a number of La Roja regulars in recent times have plied their trade on English soil.
By the lofty standards of years gone by, this season has seen a lot of mediocrity among the Premier League-based Spanish contingent and with the exception of Manchester United's David de Gea and Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta, no other England-based Spaniard can be said to be confident of being in manager Lopetegui's final 23-man list.
Here is a look at 5 "top" Spanish players in the Premier League who may miss the plane to Russia:
#5 Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)
The Barcelona-born and trained right-back has had an appalling season and his chances of making the squad for the World Cup are negligible.
He has been a shadow of the rampaging ball of fury that forcefully made the Arsenal right-back position his when he burst unto the scene for the Gunners in 2014.
His pace, intelligence and ability to make the right decisions had a lot of pundits in Spain believing that he could edge out his competitors in the national team at that time: Juanfran (Atletico Madrid) and Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid) and become Spain's right-back of choice.
Fast forward to the present time and while Juanfran is done, Carvajal has gone from strength to strength and is now one of the best right-backs in the world as well as Lopetegui's first choice.
To make matters worse for the 23-year-old Arsenal star, the emergence of young Spain-based talent like Alvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad) means the competition is now fiercer and if the manager chooses to play Chelsea's Azpilicueta as a right back and not a centre back, then Bellerin might as well focus on making the squad to Euro 2020.