Sheffield United's Ben Brereton Diaz receives late Chile call-up amid Spanish-speaking demand from boss

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Exc: Sheffield United striker handed Chile call-up despite initial omission amid language demand

Sheffield United's Ben Brereton Diaz has received a late call-up to the Chile international squad, The Star understands, despite being initially left out of the side for friendlies against Albania and France amid a demand from his new boss to learn Spanish. The 24-year-old is on loan at United from Villareal and qualifies for Chile through his mother, Andrea.

The forward was initially omitted from Ricardo Gareca's first Chile squad, with the newly-appointed boss suggesting it was "essential" that Brereton Diaz learns Spanish. But it was not a barrier to his inclusion after being handed a late call-up over the weekend ahead of the clashes against Albania on Friday and France on Tuesday.

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Blades boss Chris Wilder will be keeping his fingers crossed that Brereton Diaz returns to Shirecliffe next week unscathed, ahead of their next Premier League outing on March 30 at home to Fulham. The forward missed games earlier this month after a hamstring issue and made his return in a promising display at Bournemouth just before the international break.

Brereton Diaz scored on his first two Premier League appearances for the Blades after making the loan move back to England in January, following his summer switch from Blackburn to Villareal. He has 27 caps for Chile so far.

"I would like him to learn Spanish, I think it is important," Gareca said. "He was called up for the Copa America two years ago, he has had enough time. It is something that I personally told him, that I would like him to speak Spanish. I consider it essential for communication. Communication with his team-mates, with me, with the coaching staff, with the people [and] with the press."

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Brereton Diaz is one of a number of Blades players to have received international calls during this break, despite United's struggle in the Premier League this season. Anel Ahmedhodzic is part of the Bosnia and Herzegovina squad for their European Championship play-off qualifier against Ukraine this Thursday, with a final against Iceland or Israel to follow if they are victorious to determine if they will play at Euro 2024 or not.

George Baldock, back fit again, is part of the Greece squad for their own qualifier against Kazakhstan on Thursday. Should they progress, Greece will face either Georgia or Luxembourg next Tuesday for a place at next season's European Championships, while Adam Davies is in Rob Page's Wales squad for their own play-off against Finland on Thursday. The winners will face Estonia or Poland for a Euro 2024 place next week.

Elsewhere, Will Osula is in the Denmark U21 squad to face Austria and Lithuania while Sam Curtis is on Republic of Ireland U21 duty against San Marino. Young striker Ryan Oné is in the Scotland U19s set-up for their trio of games against Italy, Georgia and the Czech Republic while James McAtee is in the England U21 squad and Oliver Arblaster is with the England Elite League squad to face Poland and then the Czech Republic.

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