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Del Bosque: “Iker Casillas will play at Wembley”

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By David Redshaw

Saturday 12 November 2011

In a Press conference before Spain’s game with England on Saturday, national team boss Vicente del Bosque confirmed that Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas will take part, equalling Andoni Zubizarreta’s record of 126 caps for La Roja.

Iker will play,” said Del Bosque, “and so will a second keeper.” The intention is that Casillas and Liverpool’s Pepe Reina will share the 90 minutes and Barcelona stopper Victor Valdés will get the nod for Tuesday’s friendly with Costa Rica.

A historic opponent in a legendary stadium...
England are a great team with good physical attributes and good players. We face a difficult rival, among the best in Europe.

Will Casillas play from the start?
He is going to play and will share the goalkeeping duties with one of the other keepers, but only two will play.

To play at Wembley must be special...
In certain cases I’d like to have played more than managed, but I have to accept it. When I was at Wembley for the Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United I thought it was a magnificent setting, so we have to rise to the occasion.

Have you detected that motivation in your players to play at Wembley?
They all have intense competition at their clubs and can’t have selective motivation. I have every confidence in them as they all have maximum motivation to play at Wembley or any other ground. In that sense they are relaxed.

Do you think Capello has not called Rooney up as an excuse for a possible defeat?
Fabio is a man I have a lot of time for and he will do what it takes to win. I don’t think that is what has happened. I think he has selected the best players to try and beat us.

There is enormous admiration for Spain in England and it is growing. Is that added pressure?
I think this means Spanish football is going through a great period and that puts extra responsibility on us to play well. But the differences in football are not as great as they appear.

After this game, will all the players travel to Costa Rica?
We are all going. I can’t think anybody will pull out, but if they do it will be with our blessing. If anyone is injured then they would obviously have to leave us.

How has the squad been after the victory in South Africa?
Our concern after the World Cup was that it wouldn’t affect us and we would continue playing the same way. I think we have done that, except for one game when we weren’t up to scratch. The squad’s behaviour has been impeccable in every way.

It seems the future is assured with the youngsters coming through...
The Under-21s are European Champions. We have taken some players from there and the kids are pressing, but we have a stable group and a squad with a good collective age.

England has become a preferred destination for Spanish players...
That very young boys have come to play in England has benefitted us; this has been a key factor in our football as they have lost the complexes that had gripped them in the past.

After this good run of victories and form is this Spain better placed to win the European Championship now than in 2008?
I think it is more difficult because in 2008 we went as hopefuls and now we are defending the title, so there is more pressure. In addition, the teams that will be there tell you the strength of the competition: France, England, Germany, Holland, Italy and Portugal, if they eventually qualify...

Have you found the Real Madrid and Barcelona players are already thinking of El Clásico?
I haven’t noticed anything that the squad are thinking of that game. They try to looking after themselves and keep themselves fit, to play each match with a better mentality. When December 10 arrives, God will say.

To make sure you don't miss any of A Different League's Spanish coverage this season, follow the La Liga dedicated Twitter feed: @differentliga

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