Spain coach Julen Lopetegui faced the media in Las Rozas this afternoon to look ahead to the forthcoming friendlies against Germany (Friday 23rd in Düsseldorf) and Argentina (Tuesday 27th at the Wanda Metropolitano). The coach spoke about the inclusion of Diego Costa and Marcos Alonso in his squad list, the absence of Álvaro Morata and Lucas Hernández's call-up with France...
No room for everyone, Morata left out this time
Morata has been left out this time but Diego Costa is in the list. Can we deduce that this will how Spain's attack will look for the World Cup? “No, the World Cup isn't tomorrow. There are players who are not in the list this time but their chances of going to Russia remain intact. We have two exciting friendly matches to look forward to and after that - everyone will still have the same chances of entering the final list. The reasons why players haven't been included this time are numerous - level of form, injury and this is also an opportunity to take a look at new players and put together some information on them”.
Marcos Alonso and Dani Parejo in the list: “We thought it was the right moment for them to come along - both of them are in good form and we felt this was the time to take a closer look at them. There are a lot of players who could be included in the squad, players who might deserve to be included but have been omitted simply because we have a limit to the number we can include”.
Are you convinced that Diego Costa will be the team's reference in attack for both of these two friendlies? “No. Diego, as I have always said, he also has been left out in the past even when he was competing. Then he had a period when he was inactive and unable to play and now he's back with us, but nothing is guaranteed for him or anyone else. He will have to compete with his team mates as well as the ones who haven't been called this time such as Morata, who also has a decent chance of leading our attack. Being with us gives him the chance to win his place".
Morata: "Morata is a lad who has practically always been with us. He's had a series of physical problems, and that has meant he hasn't be playing regularly. He's still very much in our thoughts and his chances of being with us in Russia remain intact”.
What does Gerard Moreno need to do to gain a call-up? “The same as what he is doing, score goals. But we have decisions to make. When we close the list we are also aware that other players like Monreal and Javi Martínez could have been included but there isn't room for everyone”.
Lopetegui keen to take a closer look at Rodri and Marcos Alonso
What are you expecting from Rodri? “He's a young player who we like a lot, he's still young - but that doesn't mean he's not ready. He's an all-round player and we'd like to take a closer look at him playing with us. He's been doing a great job with his team and in the Under-21s. We felt that this was the right moment to call him up and gain more information on him”.
Lucas Hernández and Willian José have been called by France and Brazil, respectively... “I find it a bit strange that you are asking me about players who we cannot call up - even if we wanted to. It's all been said before. They cannot play for Spain. So we are not in the position to try to”.
If Morata doesn't play much between now and the end of the season, could he end up missing out on the World Cup? “I'm sure he will have a brilliant final part of the season and he will have his options of being with us. I'm in no doubt about that”.
Marcos Alonso's first call-up: “We decided this was the right moment for him. For the circumstances and in this context, it's ideal for him to be with us and to look more closely at him and if possible, give him the chance to compete”