Cesc Fabregas, Santi Cazorla and Juan Mata should have been granted greater opportunities at the World Cup, argue the Spanish media.
Spain's exit from the World Cup appears a long time ago, yet the realisation they soon will be no longer able to call themselves world champions is still a fact the country is coming to terms with.
The inquisition into their poor tournament goes on, eliminated after two games via losses to Holland and Chile.
For David Villa, the tournament was his last for Spain, and a number are expected to follow. Xavi and Xabi Alonso have likely played their final World Cups, and Andres Iniesta is considered to be on the downwards turn.
Manager Vicente del Bosque will need to turn to youth for further tournaments, and there is a feeling in Spain that he should have put his faith in the new guard sooner.
In fact the players at the heart of the debate are no youngsters - but established Premier League stars in their mid-20s.
Whatever their role in the future, the argument is that the World Cup 2014 should have been their 'now', their moment to shine.
Spanish paper El Confidencial write: "In the background (to the exit) is the presence of players like Villa or Xavi with their future away from competitive football and little presence of others like Cesc, Mata, Cazorla or Koke, footballers who have barely been used."
Santi Cazorla was granted a start in the final group game against Australia with Spain already eliminated.
Mata scored in that game, but only as a late substitute, set up by a pass from Cesc Fabregas, himself a bit-part role player off the bench.
Fabregas was reported to have fallen out with Del Bosque mid-tournament, over a lack of opportunities.
It's fair to wonder how Spain could have performed, by discarding the old guard and putting faith in their 'B' selections.
The writing was on the wall for Spain last summer, defeated easily in the Confederations Cup Final in Brazil. Xavi and Iniesta and co were off the pace, just as they were the same season in the Champions League against Bayern Munich so comprehensively.
With Cazorla ending the season in fine form, evidenced by his FA Cup Final goal, Mata scoring six in his final six games for United, and Koke magnificent for Atletico, there's reasonable grounds to suggest these were the form players who should have been chosen, while Fabregas also is a better fit for the younger side evidenced by his link up with Mata against Australia.
Del Bosque instead felt he could simply plug a half-fit Diego Costa into his system and expect it to yield results, but really what was needed was a far bigger overhaul - and the Premier League trio may just have an extra point to prove this season, as they seek to make themselves irreplaceable in Spain's first XI en route to qualifying for Euro 2016.