Del Bosque: I will pick whoever I please

The World Cup-winning coach has defended his team selection for the upcoming qualifier against Belarus, insisting that competition for places is fiercer than ever.
Vicente del Bosque has insisted that he will pick the best players available to him, even if that means dropping renowned stars.

Chelsea's Juan Mata and Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Llorente were among those who failed to make Spain's latest 23-man squad and the 61-year-old adopted a pragmatic response to those questioning his selection.

"We have 23 players which I think are a lot for two matches, but we have to cover any possible eventuality," he told Radio MARCA.

"We aren't here to please people, but to field the best team."

When questioned about Mata's absence, Del Bosque explained that it was an area where Spain had an abundance of quality.

"It's due to competition for places. He [Mata] plays in an area where we have a lot of players," he added.

"I can't think of another excuse. He's playing very well in the Premier League."

The former Real Madrid coach then revealed his joy at being able to call upon the services of David Villa following his return from injury.

"I think that Villa is happy, but I'm sure he'll demand more playing time here and at his club," Del Bosque explained.

"What's important is that he has recovered; that he's well. It's been a long injury.

"In addition, he's the goalscorer and the most renowned striker we have."

Friday's opponents Belarus have lost both of their opening qualifying matches, but Del Bosque is refusing to underestimate Georgi Kondratiev's side.

"We have to be careful and make no mistakes. The Belarus team is made up of a group of talented youngsters from the Under-21 team mixed with some veterans," he stated.

"They had France against the ropes in Saint Denis, and Georgia as well."