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Sports News

Llorente, Koke, Morata named in Spain squad; Ceballos, Thiago miss out

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain coach Luis Enrique has handed Atletico Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente a first call-up and recalled Koke and Alvaro Morata to the squad for the upcoming internationals against the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Group A - Atletico Madrid v FC Salzburg - Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - October 27, 2020 Atletico Madrid's Marcos Llorente reacts REUTERS/Sergio Perez/File Photo

The coach omitted Rodrigo Moreno and Dani Ceballos from the squad as well as Thiago Alcantara, who is still struggling after sustaining a knee injury last month.

A holding midfielder for most of his career and with Spain’s under-21s, Llorente has reinvented himself as a wide forward under Atletico coach Diego Simeone, scoring eight goals since changing position in February.

“He is a very complete player and I’ll ask him where he is most comfortable playing,” Luis Enrique told a news conference on Friday.

“He’s very versatile, he’s scored lots of goals and provided lots of assists recently. I’m really looking forward to seeing how he does and what he can offer us.”

Llorente’s team mate Koke is the fourth most-capped player in the squad but has not been called up since October 2018.

“I’ve always liked Koke, he’s a top level player and a great person but there is a lot of competition in our midfield,” the coach said after recalling the midfielder.

He also praised Morata for returning to form at Juventus this season, scoring six goals in seven games in all competitions, including a brace in a 4-1 win over Ferencvaros in the Champions League on Wednesday.

“I’ve called Morata up because since he has returned to Juventus he has been full of confidence and his numbers reflect that and I really like the attitude he has shown in attack and defence,” he added.

Spain visit the Netherlands for a friendly on Nov. 11, then play UEFA Nations League matches away to Switzerland on Nov. 14 and at home to Germany on Nov. 17.

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis

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