Spain coach: Torres should rest up

Spain coach: Torres should rest up

Published Feb. 14, 2010 1:30 p.m. ET

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has urged Fernando Torres to delay his return from injury with Liverpool in order to boost his World Cup hopes.

Torres returned to training in midweek following a lay-off with a knee problem and is line to return for the clash with Wigan on March 8.

European champions Spain are amongst the favourites to take the World Cup crown in South Africa in July and 59-year-old Del Bosque insists his country's chances would improve by Torres being kept out of action.

The comments could anger Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez, who has seen his talisman play just 21 times this season.

He has notched 12 goals during an injury-ravaged campaign that has seen the club struggle to hold on to the coveted fourth Champions League place.

Torres' recent battle with a groin problem was sustained whilst on international duty with Spain, reigniting the club versus country row that provides the backdrop to national team fixtures.

But del Bosque wants the 25-year-old to play less for the Merseysiders in an attempt to keep him in top condition for this summer's finals in South Africa.

He told the News of the World: "The fewer games Fernando plays for his club, the better it will be for us.

"We want him not to play too many games, to recover completely for the World Cup and have had some rest in between. We'd like him fresh for the tournament.

"That can only be good news for Spain. We hope Liverpool's loss will be our gain.

"Fernando Torres represents a crucial part of our squad."