Spain look to Serie A with intriguing Morata and Callejon call-ups
Vicente del Bosque (11/2 with Coral to guide La Roja to victory at Euro 2016) is continuing to blood youngsters and has introduced yet more expectant debutants to his Spain squad, with an exciting array of attackers chasing their first cap.
Juventus summer signing Alvaro Morata is one of the talents aiming to make his senior international bow, after switching from Real Madrid to Turin in the hunt for further game time. The striker suffered an ankle injury shortly after his arrival, however, so has played only a bit part role for the Old Lady so far.
Del Bosque is clearly not yet too concerned by Madrid-born Morata’s limited starts, preferring to plump for the potential of the 22-year-old over experienced clubmate and compatriot Fernando Llorente. The youngster, who has been prolific for his nation in the Under-21s, will finally receive the chance to stake a claim to a starting striking spot in Diego Costa’s absence.
La Roja also look set to christen yet more attackers, with Morata’s fellow Los Blancos alumni Jose Callejon rewarded with a call-up. The Napoli forward, 27, has blossomed since his move to the Neapolitan outfit, and has notched up eight goals in 11 league games so far, making him joint top-scorer in Serie A.
Celta Vigo wingman Nolito has also caught World Cup-winning coach Del Bosque’s eye, with an impressive five strikes and five assists in La Liga this season. The 28-year-old has been a consistent performer for the Galician club, contributing 14 goals to help them to a top 10 finish last term. Nifty Nolito’s inclusion proves Spain are looking past the obvious in their hunt for new faces.
This La Roja squad definitely has a fresh feel to it, with the absences of Barcelona midfield pair Andres Iniesta, who is sidelined with injury, and retired Xavi Hernandez, seeming to herald a new era.
Chelsea maestro Cesc Fabregas is also missing out due to hamstring concerns, meaning four-capped Villarreal midfielder Bruno Soriano has been drafted in and is to be handed a shot to impress four years after his debut.
Malaga’s 24-year-old midfield anchor Ignacio Camacho, meanwhile, could challenge Sergio Busquets’ place in the starting XI, with the Catalan star a doubt.
Spain have long enjoyed a solid, stable and fairly predictable first team, predominantly picked from a small pool of Madrid and Barca-based players but, after their recent World Cup embarrassment, places appear up for grabs.
With just two out-and-out strikers in the new-look squad, often overlooked wingmen such as Callejon and Nolito have a chance to impress their value. La Roja (13/10 to put four or more past Belarus) still have an abundance of attacking midfield talent, however, with Isco’s recent fantastic form for Real also resulting in a return to the fold.