David De Gea’s continued exclusion from the Spain starting lineup was becoming a bit of a joke.
The Manchester United goalkeeper has been in commanding form for a number of years now but has still not been able to make the national team position his own.
Iker Casillas, meanwhile, the man who has been keeping De Gea out of the Spanish side, has been doing things like this at Porto season…
Although De Gea started in a handful of Spain’s Euro 2016 qualifying games, the general feeling was that he was simply keeping the net warm for Casillas to come back in for La Roja’s European Championship games this summer.
That may still be the case but at least De Gea has now given manager Vicente del Bosque a serious selection dilemma.
Called upon for Thursday night’s 1-1 draw with Italy at the Dacia Arena in Udine, De Gea was in fine form, keeping out chances from Alessandro Florenzi and Antonio Candreva as he kept his side in the game.
There was little he could do for Lorenzo Insigne’s opener on 68 minutes, but his efforts were not to come to nothing as just two minutes later Spain were level when striker Artiz Aduriz, making only his second international appearance in six years, equalised for del Bosque’s side.
The calls for De Gea to start ahead of Iker Casillas have been growing since the latter’s horror show at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and with performance like this the calls will reach deafening levels.
It has been sheer favouritism that has kept Casillas as first choice for this long. If the squad is to be a meritocracy – and the inclusion of players such as Aduriz suggests that it will be – then there is simply no excuse for Casillas being chosen over De Gea when Spain line out for their first match at Euro 2016 in France this summer.