Fernando Torres is determined to make the most of his opportunity after being handed an international reprieve by Spain manager Vicente del Bosque.
The Chelsea striker hasn’t been involved with the national side for the past year, but was named in the 30-man provisional squad ahead of the World Cup in Brazil.
Torres, along with club team-mate Cesar Azpilicueta, was also included in a 19-man Spain squad for Friday’s friendly against Bolivia, the final chance to stake a claim before the World Cup squad is trimmed to 23 players on 2 June.
‘It’s very nice to be back with the national team,’ he said. ‘I’ve gone a year without being with La Roja, since the Confederations Cup.
‘I knew that anything could happen. Yesterday, I was only hoping to hear my name. I knew that I could’ve been here or not, but now I have a better chance of being in Brazil.
‘It’s been a difficult year but I finished the season very well. I’m grateful for the words of Vicente, who has valued my performances in the final phases.’
With Alvaro Negredo, Fernando Llorente and Diego Costa all left out of the squad for Friday’s friendly, Torres is determined to make a positive impression.
‘This list is for the game against Bolivia,’ said the Chelsea striker. ‘We need to take advantage this week, enjoy it and hopefully we can be in the final list. It is a big step to be here but in football, until things are done and dusted, anything can happen.
‘There’s always been a lot of competition here since the 2008 European Championships: (Fernando) Morientes, Raul, (David) Villa, (Roberto) Soldado, Negredo, now Costa…The level is very high, but we’re not rivals, we’re team-mates and whoever is chosen to play has the support of everyone.’
The season may have ended in disappointing fashion for Torres at club level, but the 30 year old remains confident he can make an impact on the international stage.
‘It’s been a strange year overall, one of transition at the club,’ said Torres. ‘We’ve been close in everything but in the end we’ve not managed to get anything after several years of winning titles. On a personal level, it’s been the same. But to be here (with Spain) is a great prize.
‘I’ve played less minutes than in other seasons and, maybe, that could be good to be better physically. I feel very good, I’m happy and looking forward to getting started.’
Andre Schurrle, meanwhile, has been praised by Germany manager Joachim Low.
Low has taken 26 players to a pre-World Cup training camp in South Tyrol, with three members of the group set to miss out on the tournament when he names his final squad.
He has, however, been impressed with the efforts of the Chelsea winger.
‘The year in England has done Schurrle good, you can see that in his overall body language,’ said Low.
‘He’s gained more self-confidence and improved. I’ve been very happy with him so far in training.’