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Luis de la Fuente: ‘This team feels like a family’.

The national coach has unveiled his 29-player provisional squad for the upcoming European Championships: Saying ‘all the players have the same chances of making it to the final squad’.

After a lively chat with three European champions José Ángel Iribar, Joan Capdevilla and Fernando Torres, the national coach on Monday announced the list of 29 players who will be in the group preparing for the European Championships.

Spain face Andorra in Badajoz on Wednesday 5 June and Northern Ireland in Palma three days later before travelling to Germany, where 26 players will make the final squad to represent Spain during the competition.

Luis de la Fuente made it clear from the outset that ‘all the players have the same chances of making the final squad and going to the European Championships and this provisional squad list is to minimise the risk of injury and also to cover any unforeseen circumstances’.

The squad includes the Huelva born FC Barcelona midfielder Fermín López and Real Betis striker Ayoze Pérez, who comes from Tenerife. Luis de la Fuente had words of praise for both players, saying: ‘it's time to give them this opportunity, both are playing at a very high level and we know that they are athletes who offer us something extra when tournaments of this magnitude come around.

Strengthening the group is the priority for the coach from La Rioja, who wants to encourage team spirit, a team spirit that has taken hold in this group of players. They know better than anyone that their individual talent is always at the service of the group’.

‘I think that in some positions we are the best in the world,’ continued De la Fuente, for whom ‘time makes the bonds between the players grow stronger and I feel that this team is a family with very strong bonds. ‘We have formed a very cohesive group, which is a good basis for this upcoming challenge.

The coach also made time for an heartfelt mention of the injured Gavi during a press conference that marks the start of the countdown to the 15 June opener against Croatia in Berlin, the first step on the road to continental glory, which the coach is looking forward striving towards with an extraordinary group of players, ‘the best possible team’, in the words of Luis de la Fuente.