Vincente del Bosque’s squad also includes former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, who returned to Camp Nou in the summer, while injured club colleague Pedro has been replaced by Sevilla winger Jesus Navas.
Del Bosque has selected four Premier League based players in his 23-man squad, including Chelsea duo Fernando Torres and Juan Mata and Manchester City’s David Silva, whose team-mate at Etihad Stadium, Micah Richards, insists he is ready to fight for an England place, having again been overlooked by manager Fabio Capello.
The 23-year-old right-back, man of the match in his side’s 6-1 victory over rivals Manchester United last month, has made only one appearance since the Italian took charge of the national team.
Despite being an integral part of City’s rise to the Premier League summit, Richards, who became England’s youngest-ever defender when Steve McClaren picked him as a 17-year-old in 2006, has failed to force his way into Capello’s plans, with Liverpool’s Glen Johnson and Tottenham youngster Kyle Walker preferred.
Richards reacted angrily on Twitter on Sunday when he learned of his latest omission, but yesterday he was in more reflective mood, believing international recognition will come his way if he is able to maintain his current form.
“I must be doing something right,” Richards admitted. “In seasons gone by I have not been playing my best. Now I’ve started off well and we are top of the league.
“As I’ve said before, it’s up to Capello. If he wants to give me a shout I am always there. I have improved, twice, three times since the first time I played for England.
“I’ve still not been given a start under this England manager, so I’ve not been able to show what I can do.
“I know my form has to be right for City before he can pick me, but if he gives me my chance I am sure I can take it with both hands, just like I did before.
“To be fair when I first got called up I was playing centre-half for City. I then played right-back for England, so I can’t really complain – it happens.
“Jones and Smalling have been doing well for Manchester United. If the manager wants to give them a chance it is up to him, there is no point me moaning.”