Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has admitted it was “painful” to drop Iker Casillas at Euro 2016 – but he is positive David De Gea is now marginally a better goalkeeper than the veteran.
Casillas, the former Real Madrid and current Porto goalkeeper had been Spain’s no.1 since 2002 and currently has 167 international caps to his name. He also famously lifted the 2010 World Cup in South Africa as captain, as well as consecutive European Championships in 2008 and 2012.
MANUTD reports that in recent seasons, De Gea’s superb form at Old Trafford has put Casillas under increasing pressure for his starting place with the national team, forcing del Bosque to rotate the pair during the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign while batting away questions about his long-term preference.
The outcome of this long-running saga was finally decided on Monday when De Gea started ahead of Casillas for the 1-0 win over Czech Republic in Group D. Speaking ahead of Spain’s next match against Turkey on Friday night, del Bosque revealed how difficult it had been to make that decision.
“That Iker doesn’t play is painful for me,” del Bosque told Spanish TV. “He is a player that we have to respect because he has been here for 14 years. I tried to approach things as normally as possible. I had a talk with him because I felt he deserved it. He has more than 160 caps. We always try to make the best choice and the difference [between them] is minimal.
“I liked how Iker acted on the bench. I saw he was very serene and relaxed. It’s good to see the substitutes living the game and feeling the success as if they were on the pitch. He can help us a lot.”
Well, what can I say – only that De Gea is a Red Devil from the Theater of Dreams where indomitable spirits are exhibited . . .
Up Man U!