BRIGHTON goalkeeper Robert Sanchez has been called up by Spain – dealing a blow to England… and Chelsea outcast Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Sanchez, 23, was born in the Spanish city of Cartagena but came to Albion when he was 15.
He is eligible for the Three Lions, who have been keenly monitoring his rapid rise from lower-league loanee to the Seagulls’ No1.
But Spain have made it clear they see the former Forest Green ace’s future being with them.
Boss Luis Enrique has selected Sanchez for Spain's three upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
And the Seagulls stopper's inclusion has come at the expense of Chelsea flop Arrizabalaga.
Enrique said: “Robert has appeared in the Premier League and we have gathered information about him from previous years.
“He is a young player with a great deal of potential. An interesting player.
“We are delighted to bring him into the squad and that he can show us his potential.”
Kepa has played just four times for Chelsea in the Premier League this season, with Edouard Mendy clear No1 under both Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel.
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He has also played just once for Spain this term – in the 0-0 friendly draw with Portugal.
Kepa – a £71.6million buy in 2018 – has now slipped behind Sanchez, as well as David De Gea and Athletic Bilbao No1 Unai Simon.
Meanwhile, former England star Adam Lallana has hailed Brighton’s 'massive three points' at Southampton as they bid to beat the drop.
Lallana, who was instrumental in Sunday’s 2-1 win, had accused his team-mates of feeling like they had already won by half-time in last week’s 2-1 home defeat to Leicester.
Yet after the victory at St Mary’s, he said: “It’s a massive three points.
“In the last two-three weeks we have performed to a reasonably high level which would normally be enough to get us more points than we did.
“The difference in the second half compared to last week was that we weren’t passive.
"We went looking for more goals and we did the dirty part of football when we had too as well.
"I thought our second-half performance was really professional.”
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