Time for a new generation? Spain XI for Russia 2018 - United, Chelsea players feature

Cesc Fabregas Spain

Manchester United and Arsenal targets are likely to edge out the old guard by the time of Russia 2018.

With Spain's shock elimination from the World Cup done and dusted with one group game to go, it may be time for a change for the national team.

This really could be the end of a generation for Spain's dominant side of the later noughties and early twenty-tens, with a whole batch of trophy winners in their 30s and another group set to be at a similar age when the next World Cup in Russia comes round.

The likes of Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Carlos Puyol and Iker Casillas will surely have packed it in, while Andres Iniesta, Fernando Torres, and even the likes of Cesc Fabregas and David Silva will be the wrong side of 30.

Last year, Spain Under-21s won the European Championships, and they have a plethora of promising youngsters to follow in the steps of their all conquering senior team. Many of these have already become top class players, with several at or linked to the Premier League, and as you will see, they may have just squeezed into Spain's next World Cup squad.

Below we predict what may be the Spanish lineup for the World Cup in Russia in 2018.

GK - David de Gea - By far the most promising goalkeeper the Spanish have, the Manchester United player may even find himself between the sticks as soon as qualification for the European Championships start, with Casillas looking far from a safe pair of hands in Brazil.

DR - Cesar Azpilicueta - It will likely be a close contest between the Chelsea man and Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal for a regular spot in the Spanish side, and though he struggled in his first international tournament, Azpilicueta should just edge it.

DL - Jordi Alba - One of only a handful of players that will still be around the national setup, Alba's performances in Brazil have been of stark contrast to his 2012 exploits, and the Barcelona left back will be dealing with Alberto Moreno as competition.

DC - Sergio Ramos - One of him and Pique will probably be the old head in the Spanish defence, and despite being 32 in 2018, Ramos is much the better defender than his Barca compatriot.

DC - Inigo Martinez - Long linked with a move away from Real Sociedad, Martinez would have surely fulfilled his potential as a terrific ball playing centre back by the next World Cup. 

DMC - Javi Martinez - He and Sergio Busquets will still be young enough to feature, but the Bayern midfielder may be given a chance in the next few fixtures after the Barca player failed to adequately protect his back four against the Netherlands and Chile.

MC - Koke - So impressive for Atletico this season, it's no wonder that Manchester United are chasing him. Much will depend on the form of the likes of Fabregas and Iniesta as to whether there will be central midfield spots up for grabs. Koke has the class and youth to become a big player for Spain, and will add to his caps in the coming months.

MC - Thiago Alcantara - Having missed out on the squad through injury, Thiago is another player that is sure to be brought into the starting eleven if Xavi as expected winds down his international career. Set to blossom at Bayern under Pep Guardiola.

AMR - Gerard Deulofeu - One of two outstanding wide prospects for the Spanish, the wings are two positions that the likes of Pedro and Juan Mata are likely to still be challenging for, while it will be interesting to see how the likes of Cristian Tello and Issac Cuenca develop should they leave Barcelona. Deulofeu has already shown he's the best of the bunch with Everton this past season, and could be the next big thing at the Nou Camp.

AML - Jese Rodriguez - Real Madrid have their own outrageously talented winger in Jese, who like Thiago, may have found himself in Brazil if not for injuring his cruciate ligament in March. As long as he recovers like he surely will, expect huge things from this superstar in the making.

CF - Alvaro Morata - Big things are also expected of this Arsenal target, and his next move will likely be key to his ability to claim a spot as Spain's first choice striker. Wherever he goes, Real Madrid are said to be insisting on a buyback clause, so he may well have left and rejoined Los Blancos by the time the next World Cup comes around. Diego Costa will have to play a lot better than he did in his home country to prove he's the future.

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