After last season’s disappointment of not making the Under-17 European Championships for the second year running, Spain’s U17 side will start preparing for another qualifying campaign with a training camp in Las Rozas next week.
This year, the age limit goes to 1996, so most of the players called-up will have been chosen for their performances at Cadete level last season, before receiving promotions to Juvenil level over the summer.
Santi Denia’s named a 23 man squad yesterday for a series of training sessions, dominated unsurprisingly by Barcelona players. Six of the squad are presently at La Masia, whose ’96 generation could be one of the best in recent years.
From the half-dozen culés I would recommend looking out for mainly Xabi Quintilla, Adama Traore and Rodrigo Tarin, as well as Javi García (Villarreal), Joaquín Fernández (Almería) and José Cornejo (Málaga).
The biggest name in the squad however is José Pozo, the supremely talented forward who signed for Manchester City in January from Real Madrid. The youngster caught the eye in the Under-17 Club World Cup in 2011, despite being over two years younger than some of the players he came up against.
The first stage of qualifiers don’t get underway until October, although Denia’s team could play a training friendly against a local side during their three day stint next week. In their qualifying group they will face Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and Poland, with games taking place between 19-24 October.
Goalkeepers: Miquel Parera (Mallorca), Estanislao Marcellan (Real Sociedad)
Defenders: Rodrigo Tarin (Barcelona), Sergio Pereira (Deportivo), Antonio Marín (Almería), Juan Manuel García (Barcelona), Nico Cañizares (Juventus), Xabi Quintilla (Barcelona), Carlos Blanco (Barcelona), Javier Jiménez (Villarreal)
Midfielders: Francisco Sánchez (Sevilla), Adama Traore (Barcelona), Aleix Febas (Real Madrid), Javier Fernández (Deportivo), Mohamed El-Quarichi (Barcelona), Joaquín Fernández (Almería), Roberto Olabe (Real Sociedad), Pedro Chirivella (Valencia)
Strikers: Javi García (Villarreal), Yelko Pino (Celta Vigo), José Ángel Pozo (Manchester City), Alejandro Mula (Málaga), José Cornejo (Málaga)