He might be struggling for Chelsea, but Diego Costa still has key role to play for Spain, says Del Bosque
La Roja coach says controversial striker remains important despite his slump in form
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque believes Diego Costa has an important role to play for the European champions despite the Brazil-born forward's slow start on the international stage and his slump in form for club Chelsea.
After Costa chose La Roja over his native Brazil last year, he was expected to reproduce the form that made him one of the most feared strikers in Europe during his stint at Atletico Madrid and his first season in England.
However, the 27-year-old has scored only once in nine outings for his adopted country, the third goal in a 4-0 victory over Luxembourg, and he has had a similarly barren time at Chelsea this season with three goals in 15 appearances.
Playing for Spain, he has often appeared lost, toiling up front while the nation's hugely gifted midfielders try to break down stubborn defences with their intricate passing.
In an interview with Britain's Guardian newspaper published on Tuesday, Del Bosque said it was precisely Costa's work rate and his ability to make himself a handful for defenders that made him a valuable member of the team.
He dismissed the idea that Costa's gritty playing style is unsuited to Spain and hinted he would be one of three strikers along with Alvaro Morata of Juventus and Valencia's Paco Alcacer selected for Euro 2016, when Spain will be chasing an unprecedented third consecutive continental title.
“Our midfield is good on the ball, with players whose touch is good, so we need forwards who create space, who move, who commit defenders, occupy them, and Diego does that,” Del Bosque said.
“How can Costa be harmful for us? We have him so he can get in behind, run channels, pull wide,” he added.
“We've not had much luck with him but there's nothing that goes against our style.
“Now we're choosing between him, Morata and Paco Alcacer; in principle those are the three for the future.”
Costa may get his next chance to impress in Spain's friendly against England in Alicante on Friday before they play another friendly against Belgium in Brussels four days later.
Del Bosque has been unimpressed with Costa's disciplinary problems in the Premier League but recalled him to the latest squad after leaving him out for the Euro qualifiers against Luxembourg and Ukraine last month.