The Manchester United goalkeeper was dropped for La Roja’s 3-0 win over Sweden on Monday night, with Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga preferred.
Kepa, who holds the world transfer record for a goalkeeper, was handed his fourth international cap at the Santiago Bernabeu, with De Gea left on the bench.
Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Morata and Mikel Oyarzabal scored the goals for 2010 World Cup winners in their Euro 2020 qualifier.
Spain assistant boss Robert Moreno, himself deputising for absent head coach Luis Enrique, declared why he had made the decision to go with the Blues stopper post-game.
And he insisted that De Gea is no longer the guaranteed No.1.
“We don’t think the De Gea period with Spain is over,” stated Moreno. “But Kepa had an incredible end of the season – champion of the Europa League with great performances.
“In this concrete moment, we thought that Kepa could help us in a better way.
“The competition is now on.
“When you have something easy, you get relaxed, and that’s not good. The competitiveness is also good in goal.
“It’s not just about one single thing. We already watched Kepa play quite well in the Europa League, so you could already guess he was in good shape. But we had to check it in the team.
“I talked to Luis Enrique on Friday, right before the game, and we chatted about it. And after the game, we decided to keep him in the lineup.
“It’s not one concrete moment when we decided it, but we started commenting the lineup a long time ago, and then when you have all the info on your hands, that’s what gives you the last push to take the decision.”
It comes with speculation continuing over the future of De Gea, who has just 12 months remaining on his contract at Old Trafford.