Chelsea Striker Fernando Torres Does Deserve Spain Recall
Chelsea striker Fernando Torres has been "out of favour" for club and country at times this season, but the forward seems to have won back his place for both sides after he was named in Spain's provisional squad for the forthcoming Confederations Cup.
His last appearance for his nation came back in October of 2012, but his latest recall is both well-timed and "merited," according to the BBC.
Torres has so far plundered 31 goals in 101 international caps for Spain and took part in the 2009 when he scored a hat-trick against New Zealand in Spain's opening group match.
The No. 9 deserves his recall to the squad after missing out of late. Here's exactly why.
Goals Total for the Season
Fernando Torres has played a lot of football this season. It is fair to say he has put his injury problems behind him for this campaign at least.
He totaled 67 appearances over the course of the season in all competitions for club and country, totaling close to 5,000 minutes of football all told. In that time, he managed to hit 22 goals for Chelsea, an average of one strike every 212 minutes.
It's not his most impressive ever, and there are forwards around who certainly managed better tallies, but Torres has undisputedly managed to find his goalscoring touch once more, and anyone managing over 20 in a season is to be applauded. Though only eight of his strikes came in the Premier League, he also claimed nine assists in the same competition, proving a good return in the final third.
Player data from Transfermarkt.co.uk
Improved Form over Final Third of the Season
A quick look at Torres' league form might not give too much hope that he was in good form coming to the end of the campaign: He registered just one strike after Christmas, and that came on the final day of the season.
However, he registered five assists in that time and was not always involved for 90 minutes, with coach Rafa Benitez preferring to keep him fresh for the team's Europa League adventure. That cup run, which ended in winning the trophy, saw Torres score six goals in the last six games, including a fine strike in the final.
He also scored one more in the FA Cup, but it was his general demeanor, improved attitude in the final third and danger in front of the goal in Europe which really marked Torres as an improved striker.
Increased Confidence for Torres
Fernando Torres has always been a striker who performs far better when he is confident and feeling unbeatable, as though he would score every time he took to the pitch.
A goal run was entirely probable in Europe once he felt he could perform on that stage, and if there were more league matches left to play, he would probably go on and add more to his tally there too.
Calling him back up to the Spain squad is justification for his better form and goal return and will give his confidence and ego a big boost
Missing out would have left him stewing all summer over a perceived injustice, and he may not have returned to Chelsea in the same form and frame of mind he left them. Being part of his successful international side once more will ensure he stays involved and appreciated.
Lack of Top Competition in That Position and Role
For all Spain's crazy quality and depth, centre-forward remains a strangely weak position for them at times, identified by manager Vicente del Bosque preferring to play Cesc Fabregas as a False 9 instead of operating with a true striker.
Sure, it fits the tactics at times, but it's also borne of Spain lacking real depth in options in that position.
Alvaro Negredo of Sevilla is simply not up to the task at the top level, Fernando Llorente has been frozen out at Athletic Bilbao ahead of his departure in summer, and Roberto Soldado continuously blows hot and cold when given a chance at international level.
Negredo has not been included in the Confederations Cup preliminary squad, while Torres and Soldado have been—alongside David Villa, who is preferred usually as an option from the left.
In amongst a paucity of proven talent, and combined with the apparent lack of confidence in untried players such as Iago Aspas or Michu, Torres should be given another shot at recapturing his place in the squad.
Part of the Spain Squad Which Won Their Place at the Confederations Cup
It's hardly a prerequisite, and success isn't maintained over time because of sentiment, but Torres was a big part of Spain's squad when they won the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and it is as holders of that tournament that Spain enter the Confederations Cup.
They also won Euro 2012 with Torres as a part of the squad.
While it is important to replace fading stars' fresh talent, continuity and a balance of experience is also important to maintain, and Torres as the first-choice centre-forward will provide that.
He will have to work hard and show continued improving form, especially in front of goal, to win a place in the full squad when it is cut from 26 to 23 players, and then indeed to actually play a part in the Confederations Cup itself.
But Torres has been, in the past, one of the very best strikers in the world, and this calendar year he has surely shown he is one of the best strikers of his own nation once more. And for that reason above all, he deserves his place in the squad.