UPDATE 2-Soccer-Krkic called up by Spain for France friendly

Fri Feb 1, 2008 9:26pm GMT

(Adds Arbeloa withdrawal in para 3)

MADRID Feb 1 (Reuters) - Barcelona teenager Bojan Krkic is on course to become the youngest player to win a cap for Spain after he was included in the squad for next week's friendly against World Cup finalists France.

If the 17-year-old forward plays in Malaga next Wednesday he will beat the previous record set by Athletic Bilbao's Angel Zubieta in 1936 by three months.

Real Mallorca defender Fernando Navarro and Alvaro Arbeloa also received their first call-ups, although the Liverpool fullback was later forced to withdraw because of injury.

The Spanish Football Federation said on their Web site (www.rfef.es) that if needed a replacement would be named after this weekend's league matches.

Bojan made his Primera Liga debut against Osasuna this season and became the youngest player to score a league goal for Barca in the 3-1 defeat by Villarreal in October.

"He's playing very well at the moment and that is why he is here. He has a great future in front of him," Spain coach Luis Aragones told a news conference.

The 69-year-old went on to admit that another reason for calling him up now was to ensure the player was not poached by another national team. Bojan's father is Serbian.

Aragones also decided to keep faith with experienced Valencia midfielder David Albelda despite the fact that he has been sidelined by club coach Ronald Koeman since December.

"He's coming because he was in the team that qualified for Euro 2008 and he could help us in a difficult game like the one against France," Aragones added.

Defender Carles Puyol, midfielder Marcos Senna and striker Raul Tamudo all missed out through injury.

The match against France will bring back bitter memories for Spain, who lost 3-1 the last time the two sides met, in the second round of the World Cup in 2006.

Spain and France are on the same side of the draw for Euro 2008 and could meet again if both qualify from their groups.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Liverpool)

Defenders: Pablo Ibanez (Atletico Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Joan Capdevila (Villarreal), Raul Albiol (Valencia), Carlos Marchena (Valencia), Fernando Navarro (Real Mallorca), Juanito (Real Betis)

Midfielders: Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Xavi (Barcelona), David Silva (Valencia), David Albelda (Valencia), Albert Riera (Espanyol), Xabi Alonso (Liverpool)

Forwards: David Villa (Valencia), Daniel Guiza (Real Mallorca), Bojan Krkic (Barcelona), Fernando Torres (Liverpool), Luis Garcia (Espanyol)

(Reporting by Mark Elkington, editing by Trevor Huggins and Ken Ferris)

(Editing by Ken Ferris)

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