Euro 2016

Waste of my time to be benched: Pedro

BORDEAUX • The Spain and Chelsea winger Pedro Rodriguez has said that being asked to sit on the bench at the Euro 2016 tournament is "not worth" his time.

The 28-year-old has played fewer than 10 minutes for his country, coming on during the late stages of the 1-0 Group D win over the Czech Republic.

Vicente del Bosque, the Spain coach, has preferred the likes of Celta Vigo's Nolito and Manchester City's David Silva on the flanks - a decision which has upset the Chelsea wide man.

"I had different expectations when I first came here," he said in an interview with Movistar.

"It is difficult for me to play this role (as a substitute) and if there is no continuity, it is not worth me turning up just to be part of the group."

Pedro, who joined the Blues from Barcelona last summer for £21.2 million (S$41.8 million), is one of the most-experienced players in the Spain squad, having won 58 caps and scored 17 goals since making his debut in May 2010.

He used Monday's scheduled pre-match press conference to tackle the issues over his comments, and said: "I am not sorry exactly. If you asked me about my future in the national team, I would say the same (again)."

However, del Bosque was unperturbed about an unwanted distraction from his side's perfect start to the tournament.

"We try to make sure everyone is happy but it is inevitable that, at some moment, the 12 players who don't play won't be happy," he said.

Pedro's comments brought criticism from some fellow players.

"I would go with the national team without any conditions," forward Joselu told Spanish daily Marca. "I would like to be there cleaning the boots to play in a Euros."

Spain's influential midfielder Andres Iniesta, meanwhile, said the secret to his fine form at Euro 2016 has been his speed of thought.

The 32-year-old has made a smooth transition from an attacking playmaker to central midfield, and been instrumental in the victories over the Czech Republic and Turkey.

"The most important thing has been, is and will be to think fast," he told El Mundo newspaper.

"Certain things occur automatically, but to think fast is the only secret."

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2016, with the headline 'Waste of my time to be benched: Pedro'. Print Edition | Subscribe