Kepa gets Spain call as Reina suffers injury

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Madrid, March 22 (IANS) Athletic Club Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has replaced injured Pepe Reina in the Spain football squad for the forthcoming 2018 World Cup qualifying game at home against Israel and the following friendly game away to France.

The 22-year-old Kepa, who was with the Spain Under-21 squad, was included after Napoli’s Reina was injured on Tuesday, reports Xinhua news agency.

Kepa will join Manchester United goalkeeper, David de Gea and Sevilla’s Sergio Rico in the squad, as part of his impressive progress.

A product of the Athletic youth system, Kepa spent two years with the Athletic B-team before loan spells with second division sides Ponferradina and Valladolid completed his progression.

This season saw him return to Athletic, where he is now first choice ahead of the experienced Gorka Iraizoz and only an inopportune thigh injury in January has slowed his progression, while the club is working on a new contract to tie him down until at least 2022.

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