A second coming

Luis Alberto.
Luis Alberto.
  • a look at la liga

  • I've spent the international breaking coming up with an XI currently doing well in La Liga after an inglorious move to England

When Julen Lopetegui announced his latest Spain squad there was a mass raising of eyebrows back on Merseyside as he'd apparently found a theme - Liverpool FC rejects.

Luis Alberto and Suso have rebuilt a footballing life in Italy after their short-lived career mistake of moving to England. Alberto Moreno is currently winning over the Kop who were never convinced Celta sent over the same Iago Aspas who is a goal-scoring machine up in Vigo.

The airport terminals are full of Spanish players heading to make their fame and fortune in the English Premier League, indeed eleven of the 25-man squad have operated in England. Many may have made a small fortune but fame for an alarming number of exports from Spain wasn't achieved and they headed back.

And so I've spent my international break selecting my 'Didn't -establish-themselves-in-the-Premier-League-but-are-doing-very-well-currently-in-La-Liga' squad.

The captain is easy. Gerard Piqué never quite managed to dislodge John O'Shea at Manchester United and after just 13 appearances returned complaining that he didn't understand a word Sir Alex Ferguson said and his team mates were on a diet of beer and burgers.

In goal I'd go for Pau López who is one of the most promising young goalkeepers in Europe - the reason Tottenham signed him on loan. He may have seen many sights while in London but a first team pitch wasn't one of them and he's back starring for Espanyol.

Alongside Piqué would be Stefan Savic. The twelve appearances he made for Manchester City earned him a Premier League winners medal in 2012 but he was traded to Italy - now he's a rock at Atlético.

Marc Muniesa makes left back, partly because I can't find many left backs! He did OK at Stoke and is one of the leading figures now as Girona establishes itself among the elite. Also at Girona is Pablo Maffeo. In fact he's in his third spell on loan to the Catalans but he could be the exception in my team. He is the one who may yet make it at Manchester City. At the age of 20, he's already manmarked Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. If City are doing their homework he will add to his three appearances in light blue.

Mind you Denis Suárez may have thought that too although he never added to a single League Cup appearance against Wolves. Now he's on the verge of the Barcelona team and Spain squad.

Steven N'Zonzi's agent once told me he was heading to Arsenal while he was a Blackburn... and he ended up in Stoke. The same agent agreed on a 30-million-euro buyout when he signed for Sevilla. I bow to him now as N'Zonzi is one of the most significant midfielders in La Liga.

When Barcelona announced they were bringing in a Brazillian with Premier League experience in the summer it was anticipated to be Phillip Coutinho and not Paulinho, who was exiled in China. He's been the surprising hit of the season.

There's an abundance of strikers to select from. Simone Zaza was less popular at West Ham than the stadium, yet he's the nearest challenger to Messi for the Pichichi.

Iago Aspas scored one goal for Liverpool but averages one in every two games for Celta. Juanmi started just two matches for Southampton yet is one of Real Sociedad's most consistent performers. I've checked several times just to make sure that the same Rodrigo who scored one goal against Wigan while on a football vacation in Bolton, is the same Rodrigo who is leading the Valencia revolution.

Rodrigo and Aspas are vying with another who has recently departed from England, Diego Costa, for the centre striker's position in the very competitive Spain World Cup squad.

If anyone asks, the nickname “La Roja” translates to “Premier League reject”.