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Spain vow not to replace absent coach Luis Enrique

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Spain will not seek a replacement for head coach Luis Enrique as he remains unavailable due to “family reasons”.

Enrique missed Spain’s last Euro 2020 qualifier at Malta on March 26 after being forced to leave to attend a family emergency.

Nearly two months later, however, the former Barcelona manager continues to be unavailable as Spain prepare to return to action ahead of their next qualifiers against the Faroe Islands and Sweden in June.

Enrique’s assistant Robert Moreno will again occupy his place on the touchline in his absence.

But the Royal Spanish Football Federation’s (RFEF) sporting director Jose Molina has given Enrique a welcome bit of news in these worrying times by assuring everyone his job is safe.

“The coach could not be here for the same reasons he left the camp in Malta, nor will he be in the camp for the two matches against the Faroe Islands and Sweden,” said Molina, according to Goal.

“Thank you for the respect you have maintained for the situation that the coach is going through.

“The commitment of the RFEF with Luis Enrique is total. That commitment is mutual and will continue in force. On our part there is no doubt about that.

“We hope to see him for a long time. It’s a difficult time and he has our help and confidence.

“It will be his staff who will take the day-to-day of the national team. They are in permanent contact with him.

“This situation does not have a deadline, we do not set any deadlines. We won’t have any change of coach.”

Santi Cazorla recalled after a four-year absence

Villarreal v Valencia - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final : First Leg
VILLAREAL, SPAIN – APRIL 11: Santi Cazorla of Villarreal CF celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the UEFA Europa League Quarter Final First Leg match between Villarreal and Valencia at Estadio de la Ceramica on April 11, 2019 in Villareal, Spain. (Photo by Fotopress/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the RFEF named the 23-man squad that will participate in Spain’s upcoming qualifiers.

Part of the team for the first time since 2015 is former Arsenal star Santi Cazorla, who has excelled at Villarreal this season after overcoming a horrific ankle injury.

The playmaker was forced to undergo knee, foot and ankle operations during his two-year absence from football. In fact, he nearly had his foot amputated in 2017.

Nonetheless, Cazorla’s troubles are now behind him and his four goals and 10 assists helped Villarreal avoid relegation from La Liga this season.

La Roja will take a trip to the Faroe Islands on June 7 before hosting Sweden in Madrid three days later.

23-man squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers

Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea), Pau Lopez (Real Betis).

Defenders: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Jose Gaya (Valencia), Diego Llorente (Real Sociedad), Mario Hermoso (Espanyol), Sergi Roberto (Barcelona), Inigo Martinez (Athletic Bilbao), Jesus Navas (Sevilla).

Midfielders: Santi Cazorla (Villarreal), Rodrigo Hernandez (Atletico Madrid), Isco (Real Madrid), Dani Parejo (Valencia), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Fabian Ruiz (Napoli)

Forwards: Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid), Rodrigo Moreno (Valencia), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo).