The pair, both 28 years of age, have been receiving regular call ups to the Spain squad for the last five years but since joining Manchester City last summer, and winning the Premier League title, neither one has been selected for the World Cup this summer.
David Silva, on the other hand, has maintained his inclusion in Vincente de Bosque’s squad but the much lesser talked about Javi Garcia has also been omitted from the squad.
Meanwhile, Chelsea striker Fernando Torres, widely regarded as a ‘flop’ in England, often times by his club’s own supporters, along with former Blues star Juan Mata, who moved to join Manchester United in January, have both been included.
Torres has scored just 11 goals in all competitions this term for the Blues who failed to win any silverware under Jose Mourinho, compared to Alvaro Negredo’s tally of 23 goals in all competitions for the Citizens under Manuel Pellegrini’s side who were crowned Premier League champions earlier this month and won the League Cup earlier on this year.
Meanwhile, Jesus Navas scored six goals and made 13 assists in all competitions for Manchester City this term after signing from Sevilla along with Negredo. The speedy winger has not been the most impressive member of Pellegrini’s side but has made an admirable contribution at the Etihad. Meanwhile, Juan Mata has been one of the Premier League most creative and technically superior midfielder for the last few years and, as such, I am not at all surprised by his inclusion by Del Bosque.
However, the Red Devils’ record signing managed just seven goals and eight assists in all competitions this term and has not found his stride yet at Old Trafford after being benched into a departure a Stamford Bridge.
I am in no way suggesting Spain is against Manchester City (or ex-Sevilla) players but I do find it striking that these talents have been excluded. Spain has an abundance of exceptionally gifted players all over the pitch and undoubtedly a Golden Generation. But it does seem as though national team coaches are not taking the Citizens as seriously as the more established ‘big clubs’ in England.
Perhaps City's lack of genuine competition in European competitions in the last five to ten years may be hindering their players and, more likely, that the necessary rotation of so many top players means their players are not hitting their stride as they would at clubs with less strength in depth.