SPAIN COACH Vicente del Bosque says he will give striker David Villa as much time as possible to be fit for Euro 2012.
Del Bosque was originally set to name his 23-man group on 23 May, but the Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao two days later has forced him to delay the selection until 29 May.
Villa has yet to play for Barcelona since breaking his tibia against Al Sadd at the Club World Cup in December, but Del Bosque insists the Euro 2008 champions will give the forward the necessary time to prove his fitness.
“Villa at the Euros? I talked with Pep yesterday. We will wait until the last moment, he’s our top goalscorer,” Del Bosque said.
Spain’s bid to become the first team to defend their European title begins with their Group C opener against Italy on 10 June before taking on Ireland. As reigning world and European champions, Spain head into the tournament in Poland and Ukraine as favourites, a tag that does not bother Del Bosque.
“Of course we are favourites due to the fact that we are the reigning European and world champions and it seems that is something we can’t shake off,” he said. ”But Netherlands and Germany, who were second and third in the World Cup, are also clear favourites, all the more so because of their impeccable Euro 2012 qualifying runs.
“Then you have England, Italy, France, Portugal, they all have excellent players. And in these relatively short championships it can happen that any country comes into form and wins it, as happened with Greece in Portugal in 2004,” he added.