October 4, 2018 / 10:30 AM / 2 months ago

Soccer-Morata, Koke return to Spain squad, Costa excluded

MADRID, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Coach Luis Enrique has recalled Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke and Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata to the Spain squad for this month’s internationals against Wales and England, although forward Diego Costa has been excluded.

Costa, who withdrew from the squad last month for personal reasons, came off injured during Atletico’s 3-1 win over Club Bruges in the Champions League on Wednesday, although it remains unclear if he has omitted this time due to injury.

Spain play Wales in a Cardiff friendly next Thursday, before hosting England in a UEFA Nations League tie at Real Betis’s Benito Villamarin Stadium the following Sunday.

Spain top the Nations League A Group 4 standings on six points after beating England 2-1 and hammering Croatia 6-0 last month.

Luis Enrique has also handed a first ever call up to Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Jonny Castro and recalled Real Betis defender Marc Bartra and Borussia Dortmund forward Paco Alcacer, having worked with the latter pair while at Barcelona.

Barca defender Jordi Alba, however, continues to be overlooked despite showing strong form for his club.

Real Madrid pair Isco and Dani Carvajal, and Barca’s Sergi Roberto and Athletic Bilbao’s Inigo Martinez were part of the last squad but all miss out through injury.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Pau Lopez.

Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta, Raul Albiol, Nacho Fernandez, Sergio Ramos, Marc Bartra, Jonny Castro, Marcos Alonso, Jose Gaya.

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Rodri, Koke, Saul Niguez, Thiago Alcantara, Dani Ceballos.

Forwards: Marco Asensio, Iago Aspas, Alvaro Morata, Suso, Rodrigo Moreno, Paco Alcacer. (Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by John O’Brien)

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