World Cup Squad Selector: Koke

It is more than fitting that a player whose full name is Jorge Resurreccion is at the centre of Atletico Madrid’s renaissance.

Once seen as the replacement for Xavi Hernandez in the national team, some feel that Koke’s time is now and that he should be not just part of the squad but be named in the starting XI. He may find it hard to break into the team that starts in Brazil but he does have a secret weapon.

Koke’s ability is well known in La Liga. So far this season he has 14 assists and seven goals, an improvement on last season when he had nine assists and three goals. Still only 22, the Atletico Canterano gets better by the game.

His set pieces have been the source of more than a few goals this season and his vision to find teammates is impressive. Yet, for all that Koke has to offer Vicente Del Bosque, there is a more important reason for his inclusion – his versatility across the park. It is for that reason that Koke has more than likely booked his place on the plane to Brazil.

He can play across the midfield and while his favourite position is in the middle as an attacking midfielder, he can play on the right and the left. Koke has the speed to play down the wings and the control and vision to dictate play from the centre.

Recently he has even played a little deeper for Atletico as Diego Simeone asked him to play in the suspended Gabi’s position. He adapted to the role with ease and looked very comfortable.

Del Bosque has used him in different roles too and some feel that Koke has an outside chance of being a regular starter in Brazil, as right-back.

It’s well known that the right-back position has caused Del Bosque more than a few headaches. While Juanfran and Alvaro Arbeloa are hard-working, they can be a liability. Against Finland in the World Cup qualifiers, Koke was played at right-back and did a decent job of it as Spain kept a clean sheet.

While he admitted it was a position that was new for him, Koke also said he would be happy to play there if it meant being on the pitch. Del Bosque still hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Koke being a full-back but other candidates have pulled up their socks and so we might see the 22-year-old assigned to midfield duties.

Koke is also an excellent crosser and passer of the ball. He has an 80% passing success rate but he is not afraid to tackle and do hard work for the team. He knows when to move the ball on quickly and also when to hold it.

He will definitely be a key player in the future and while he should play a part in Brazil, it won’t be as much as he would like unless injury pushes his name up the list.