The experienced coach has warned his players that their time with the national team could come to an abrupt end if they allow their performance levels to drop
Spain head coach Vicente del Bosque says it is important for his side to have a long-term successor to Iker Casillas in place as soon as possible.
The experienced Real Madrid goalkeeper has been his country’s No.1 for the best part of the last decade and was pivotal to their remarkable victories at Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012.
However, calls for the 33-year-old to lose his starting place have grown in the past year, with his club form beset by inconsistency and the rise of Manchester United’s David De Gea offering a viable alternative in goal for la Roja.
And Del Bosque admits he must begin to plan for life without the 158-cap goalkeeper.
“Casillas is getting older and we have to think that he might one day fall injured or that he stops playing for his club. We need someone to be ready and prepared,” Del Bosque was quoted as saying by Marca.
“All players should have leadership qualities. Charisma and character are demonstrated day to day out on the pitch. A player’s leadership comes from his performances and also his personality. Your place in the national team can come to an end at any time, because unfortunately we have to say who doesn’t make the grade.”
Del Bosque also suggested that recent criticism of defender Gerard Pique could be borne out of antipathy towards his pro-Catalunya independence stance.
“There has been a growing feeling against Pique because I feel that there is something behind it all. It’s not just about Pique sports-wise,” he said.
Del Bosque also moved to quash talk of an “obsession” with striker Diego Costa’s involvement with the national team, after initial controversy over his decision to represent Spain rather than Brazil and the more recent dispute with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho concerning his fitness.
“There is no obsession with him. His case is very special,” Del Bosque added. “At first there were people who frowned on the fact that he was foreign, but now we see he is a marvel that the people have accepted.
“He is here, motivated to play well. He can make mistakes but he wants to be of use. I have a lot of faith in him, although the start has been somewhat irregular.”