Lopetegui pledges to honour Del Bosque legacy


Julen Lopetegui aims to build on the achievements of Vicente del Bosque after being named as the veteran coach's successor as Spain boss.

Del Bosque oversaw Spain's triumphant campaigns at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 but, after their shambolic defence of the world title in Brazil two years ago, his reign petered out with a last-16 exit at Euro 2016.

Stalwarts of this golden period, which also took in glory at Euro 2008 under Luis Aragones, are approaching the end of their international careers but former Porto coach Lopetegui was keen to preach evolution rather than revolution at a news conference shortly after his appointment was confirmed on Thursday.

"We will try to take advantage of all the good he has done for Spanish football for many years," the 49-year-old said.

"We will not waste many wonderful things that this team has given us.

"Football does not stop, does not live in the past, we are very proud of the past but we look at the present and the future.

"There is no better mirror to look to than Vicente del Bosque. He has done an exemplary job and left the bar very high. We are aware of it.

"I was unable to speak with Vicente but we will talk."

A goalkeeper capped once by Spain in his playing days, Lopetegui has coached Spain's age-group teams from under-17 to under-21 level, masterminding successful campaigns at the 2012 European Under-18 Championship and the 2013 Under-21 Championship.

As such, he is well versed in the capacity of Spain's next generation to try and emulate the phenomenal exploits of their predecessors.

"Spanish football still has a wonderful generation of players," he said. "We will convince people again to walk with pride about Spanish football in the world.

"We'll go see what is best for games, we will consider our rivals, fitness - we are not going to make any revolution.

"The core of the team is clear, there are many players established and other new players to come who will deserve it. We will not do revolution, it will be evolution. Football lives in the present."

Lopetegui would not be drawn on whether record appearance-holder Iker Casillas still has a role to play in the Spain set-up after the veteran keeper he coached at Porto fell behind David de Gea in the pecking order at Euro 2016.

"It's not the place to make reflections on individual players," he said. "Every player who is available will be an option for us."

Spain face Belgium in a friendly on September 1 before beginning their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign four days later against minnows Liechtenstein.

Lopetegui confirmed he could have been in charge of Wolves at this time, having held talks with the Championship team, but conceded all other options paled next to the opportunity of leading his country.

"I thank Wolverhampton and everyone there who trusted in me," he added.

"They had an interesting project, but when the national team came there was nothing else for me."