Spain coach Julen Lopetegui insists the likes of Alvaro Morata can still force their way into his World Cup plans despite omitting the Chelsea striker from his latest squad.
Morata was left out of Lopetegui’s 24-man party for this month’s friendlies against Germany and Argentina, with his Chelsea team-mate Marcos Alonso among three uncapped players included.
Morata’s absence comes following a disappointing run of form at club level, with the 25-year-old not having scored for Chelsea in 2018 and starting the Blues’ last three matches on the bench.
The likes of Vitolo, Luis Alberto, Suso, and Marc Bartra have also dropped out from Spain’s last selection, but Lopetegui says the World Cup door is not shut to anybody.
Asked if Friday’s selection meant that former Chelsea striker Diego Costa, who has earned a recall, would be going to Russia this summer and Morata would not, Lopetegui said: “No, the World Cup is not tomorrow.
“There are players who are not on the list whose chances of going to the World Cup are intact.
“We’ve now got two exciting matches against two great sides and after that everyone will have their chances.
“The fact players haven’t been called is down to various things; form, injuries and also to see new players better.”
Regarding Morata specifically, Lopetegui added at a press conference in quotes reported by the Spanish press: “Morata is somebody who has almost always been included. He’s had some physical problems and he’s not been playing much and we’ve decided that now it was better to call up others.
“But he’s not out of our thoughts and he has his chances to go to the World Cup.
“We hope that he will have more prominence in his team.
“I’m sure he’s going to have an extraordinary end to the season and will have every chance to be with us. I’ve no doubt about that.”
While Morata drops out, his club-mate Alonso has won his first call-up to the senior squad, alongside Valencia playmaker Dani Parejo and young Villarreal midfielder Rodri, who are also uncapped.
Lopetegui said of the newcomers: “We felt it was the right time for them to come in and take a look at them.
“We like (Rodri) a lot. He’s very young but he’s ready. We’ve liked watching him a lot, the reports from his club and the under-21s are excellent and we thought it was a good time see him closer.
“There are many players who could be called up, who deserve it and haven’t been included because we have to keep the squad to a certain number.”
Spain face Germany in Dusseldorf on March 23 and Argentina four days later at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
Spain squad: Kepa Arrizabalaga (Athletic Bilbao), Jose Reina (Napoli), David De Gea (Manchester United); Alvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Nacho (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Marcos Alonso (Chelsea); Isco (Real Madrid), Thiago (Bayern Munich), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid), Dani Parejo (Valencia), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Rodri (Villarreal), David Silva (Manchester City), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid), Rodrigo Moreno (Valencia), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid).
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