Romeu Backs Torres to Shine
Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu believes his team-mate Fernando Torres will be a key player for Spain at the European Championship despite enduring a difficult season with the Champions League winners.
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Torres, who cost the London club £50million when he was signed from Liverpool in January last year, scored just 11 goals in 48 appearances at club level this season but is expected to start when Spain begin the defence of their European crown against Italy on Saturday.
However, Romeu thinks his experience of the big occasions and workrate could prove vital for the world champions.
He told Marca: "I think that Torres will be a very important player for the national team at the Euros because he is a player with great quality and experience and these characteristics are very important in a forward.
"He is very important for Chelsea too. You only have to look at how the fans love him and chant his name, whilst he is also loved amongst the players and directors at the club."
Torres admitted last week that he was as excited as ever to play for his country after being left out by Vicente Del Bosque for the friendly against Venezuela in February and Romeu believes being dropped provoked a reaction in the World Cup winner.
"It is true that when you lose something you realise how important it is and this is what happened with Fernando in the national team," he said.
"When Del Bosque left him out he did so to give him a warning and he took it well, naturally he continued to work until the end of the season and now he is there with a great chance of having a good European Championship."
On his own situation at Chelsea, Romeu was more guarded after featuring only twice since Roberto Di Matteo replaced Andre Villas-Boas in March.
He said: "That I have played less is a reality but there are times when you play more or less and you have to accept that, but now it is a difficult time.
"The manager said he believed in me but when we entered a phase in which we played a lot he chose the players he believed were more suited to play. But I expect to start again in the new season and if I continue to work bit by bit I believe I can get into the team.
"More than anything I believe I can do as I have already shown I can play from the start. When you look at what has happened you know it is not a utopia and you can return to achieve it again."
The former Barcelona midfielder also reflected on an eventful first season at Stamford Bridge, which culminated in dumping his old side of the Champions League at the semi-final stage on their way to winning the tournament.
"It has been a brutal season," he continued.
"We believed in ourselves and the team knew what we could do. We believed in our chances, even against Barcelona, and this allowed us the chance to reach the Champions League final."
Romeu is also hoping to start next season in fine fashion by playing in the Olympics which start at the end of July.
The 20-year-old was involved in the Spain Under-23 side that beat Egypt in February and is expected to be named in Luis Milla's squad for the games, but is wary given how well a number of other players finished the season whilst he was not playing at Chelsea.
"Hopefully I can go with the national team but I have to wait and see the squad list, because the level of players that could go to the Olympics is spectacular," he said.
"They have been playing for big teams, have won the Europa League or been playing in finals.
"The Olympics is a once in a lifetime experience and I would like to be there. The people of Spain have been spoiled with triumphs recently but Olympic gold is a huge thing.
"To be in London with Spain would be a bit strange, but nice at the same time because it is the city where I live and I enjoy it. To see a completely different atmosphere would be something special."