Spain head coach Robert Moreno insists he did not call up Wolves winger Adama Traore "on a whim" for this month's Euro 2020 qualifying matches.
Traore was surprisingly named as a replacement for the injured Rodrigo Moreno only for a hamstring issue to force him to withdraw from the squad.
It had been suggested Traore was only called up so that he would make a competitive appearance for Spain and therefore no longer be eligible to represent Mali, the country of his parents.
However, Moreno - who worked with the player at Hospitalet and Barcelona, where he made his senior debut - says he has long considered calling up Traore due to his ability to unsettle deep-lying defences.
"I'm looking for players who can create an imbalance. Adama Traore has that and is very different from others," he told a news conference.
"He suffered a little problem on Sunday. I spoke with him and he told me he couldn't come.
"Adama is very well-known because he came out of La Florida, my local club. He was at Hospitalet, where I was, and we gave him his debut at Barcelona. Nobody knows him like I do.
"He wasn't called up on a whim. We've been following him for a long time and he has been on two preliminary squad lists."
Spain, who have already qualified for the Euro 2020 finals, face Malta and Romania in their final two games in Group F.
Moreno is eager to see a more clinical edge in attack from his players given they were held by Norway and Sweden in their most recent games.
"We lacked aim in the last two games against Norway and Sweden. We create chances, but you still have to create more," he said.
"This week, we've emphasised working against teams who close things down, as I think that's how the games against Malta and Romania will be."
Moreno also suggested he could give Roma goalkeeper Pau Lopez a chance to impress, as the battle for the number-one position continues between Kepa Arrizabalaga and David de Gea.
"I said I wanted to try everyone and I'm a man of my word. It could be that Pau Lopez plays one of the next two games," he said.