Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque says that Iker Casillas deserves his spot in La Furia Roja’s starting line-up.
The Real Madrid and Spain skipper was second choice at the Bernabeu for much of last season, but Del Bosque did not hesitate to name him between the sticks for the world and European champions’ assault on the Confederations Cup.
Elements in the Spanish football media have charged Del Bosque with favouritism, suggesting that ‘Saint Iker’ is the coach’s golden boy who cannot be dropped.
But Del Bosque is adamant that Casillas is simply good enough to be Spain’s number one, no matter what his club situation appears to be.
There is no favouritism towards Casillas," Del Bosque told Radio Marca.
"We took many things into account when deciding and certain details made us feel inclined to start him.
"People keep saying that it as if I owe Iker something, but sporting questions always come before personal ones.
"I want to isolate myself from the clubs. A lot has been made of this particular case, but no-one can doubt that Casillas has played many games for Spain.
"He deserves to be respected. A young lad that came through the ranks at Real Madrid deserves to be loved, even with the defects he has."
Meanwhile, other good Spanish players who could probably waltz into most senior starting line-ups around the world are the Iberian nation’s Under 21 European champions.
Del Bosque has been thinking about calling some up of the junior stars to the Confederations Cup. But such is Spain’s frightening strength in depth that he says he does not need to.
"We discussed bringing them to the Confederations Cup but we have some very good players ahead of them, as was proved against Uruguay," he said.
"We don't have to renew our squad for the sake of it. They (the Under 21 players) have to put a lot of pressure on us because we have a stable squad. We have some brilliant players on our substitutes' bench."