Morata likely to get the nod for Spain, Del Bosque says

Reuters , Thursday 26 Mar 2015

Juventus
Juventus' Alvaro Morata celebrates after scoring his side's 2nd goal during the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Juventus Turin on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 in Dortmund, Germany (Photo: AP)

Juventus forward Alvaro Morata is likely to feature up front for Spain in Friday's Euro 2016 qualifier against Ukraine in Seville, coach Vicente del Bosque said on Thursday.

Morata is the obvious choice in the striker's role for the European champions following the withdrawal due to injury of Diego Costa as second-placed Spain look to maintain pressure on Group C leaders Slovakia.

"We have been training with all the players we have, we have deployed them in the positions they are going to play and we have a lot of expectations of Morata," Del Bosque told a news conference ahead of the game at Sevilla's Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.

"It has been positive that he has enriched himself by moving abroad and it is good that he has had playing time (at Juve)," Del Bosque added.

Morata joined the Italian champions from Real Madrid in the close season after breaking into Real's first team from the youth ranks but finding his playing time limited.

The 22-year-old, who has scored seven goals in 22 Serie A appearances this term for the Italian champions, is competing for a place up front with the likes of Barcelona's Pedro and Malaga's Juanmi.

Cesc Fabregas, who plays in midfield for Chelsea but has often been drafted in as an extra striker for his country, is another option.

Morata was given strong backing by Spain team mates Sergio Ramos and Andres Iniesta.

"He deserves to be here," Real centre back Ramos said.

"He is a forward who stirs things up, who looks for the spaces, who moves well up front and he gives the national team a very good alternative."

Barcelona playmaker Iniesta added: "We all know Alvaro's quality. He is really playing well and that's why he is here with us.

"He is a born goalscorer, he is always pushing the limit of offside and his precision and movement make your job easier."

With four matches played, Spain are second in Group C on nine points, three behind Slovakia, who beat them 2-1 in Zilina in October, and level with Ukraine.

Spain host Slovakia in September in a match that may decide who secures a place at the tournament in France as group winners.

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