De Gea case overshadows Spain's preparations for Euro debut

Spain's preparations to defend their Euro crown have been damaged by allegations that goalkeeper David de Gea was involved in an case of sexual assault at a party in a Madrid after an Under-21 game

Madrid/Toulouse - One just has to feel sorry for Vicente del Bosque.

The veteran Spain manager was hoping for a calm atmosphere at Spain's Euro 2016 training camp, ahead of his final tournament in the hot seat before his retirement in July.

Instead, La Roja's base on the Ile de Re, off the western coast off France, has become a veritable powder keg because of the allegations surrounding goalkeeper David de Gea.

Media reports Friday claimed that the Manchester United keeper was one of the players - together with Iker Muniain of Athletic Bilbao and Isco of Real Madrid - involved in a wild party at a Madrid hotel in 2012, after a Spain Under-21 game, which might have culminated in sexual assault against various women, some of whom may have been underage.

De Gea, 25, was quick to deny the allegations, the same as Muniain and Isco.

"This is all lies and nothing else. I am really surprised at this news ... I have left this affair in the hands of my lawyers.

"This kind of thing just strengthens my desire to play for Spain ... I am a very calm person and something that is not true is not going to change that."

It is not clear whether the Spanish police will press charges against the three players.

Del Bosque seemed poised, before Friday's allegations, to make Del Bosque his first-choice goalkeeper ahead of 35 year-old veteran Iker Casillas, starting at Spain's Group B debut Monday against the Czech Republic in Toulouse.

Now, the normally taciturn Del Bosque seems to be in a real quandary about what to do with De Gea.

Del Bosque was quick to defend the young keeper Friday, but would not confirm his place for Monday.

"I think that De Gea has made it clear, to the media and to the other players, that he has nothing to do with this business."

Del Bosque denied that the exclusion of De Gea from the squad had been considered.

"This has never been a possibility. It seems that he has done nothing wrong and I have to believe him."

Even so, the 65 year-old manager would not say whether De Gea would be between the sticks Monday.

"Everything in life has to be thought through. We are in a period of reflection at the moment."

Del Bosque also has to decide between veteran Aritz Adruiz and youngster Alvaro Morata, to accompany the in-form Nolito in attack.

He will also have to choose between David Silva and Thiago as the playmaker, alongside Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta in midfield. 

Iniesta will wear the captain's armband if De Gea starts instead of Casillas.

The only line where Del Bosque has no doubts is the defence. Juanfran will be at right-back, with old adversaries Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique in the centre, with Jordi Alba down the left.

Ramos and Pique are by no means the best of friends, though they conceded just one goal in six games together at Euro 2012.

Spain are bidding to become the first country to win three straight Euros, following their triumphs in 2008 and 2012.

Last update: Sat, 11/06/2016 - 11:57
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