So, finally, after months of persistent cries for a Spain call-up for Aritz Aduriz from followers of Spanish football in all corners of the world, Vicente del Bosque has appeased the masses by giving the joint top-scoring Spaniard in Europe a chance.
But is this call-up for the friendlies against Italy and Romania merely an attempt to silence those who would not stop questioning the 65-year-old until Aduriz got what he deserved, or is it more than that? Will the evergreen striker be on the Spain plane to France in the summer?
First of all, the chances are that Aduriz will not be starting games for Spain, although there is a chance that he will start at least one of the two friendlies. This is probably down to the fact that the Basque forward is not exactly the type of player associated with La Roja – he is a battering ram of a striker whose aerial ability is among the best in the game, somewhat in juxtaposition to the intricate passing game that has seen Spain win their treble of international trophies.
“[Aduriz] is coming in by popular acclaim, but also deserves to be here,” Del Bosque said of the 35-year-old. “He is scoring a lot of goals, a traditional centre-forward that everyone likes. Until now there has not been much talk about him coming with us, but he has been playing well for many years. He deserves it.”
These quotes from the Spain Coach upon calling up the former Valencia forward are interesting indeed. Yes, Aduriz is the most prolific striker that Spain have, but rather perplexingly, there are still doubts about him going to Euro 2016. Del Bosque speaks as though Aduriz is some kind of novelty player who perhaps will not be in his plans for very long.
There is no Diego Costa in this squad amid more disciplinary problems, though Del Bosque denies that’s the reason and cites injuries, so along with Alvaro Morata and Paco Alcacer, Aduriz is one of three forwards, the number that will most likely be going to France with a system that only uses one.
Where does that leave Aduriz when Costa returns? There shouldn’t even be a question of Aduriz being in the squad, but it sometimes seems harder to get into the squad than it is to get out of it. Morata should be on the plane, Alcacer seems to score more for his country than he does for his club and Costa has been in decent goal scoring form, so Del Bosque has a dilemma. Does he leave one of his favoured three out, or does he stick with who he knows best and remain conservative?
Aduriz should be in the squad consistently with this kind of form and be adding to his solitary international cap. He will offer a new dimension to La Roja’s play coming off the bench if they are looking for a goal.
Fernando Llorente’s impact as a substitute in the World Cup 2010 last 16 tie against Portugal should be remembered, when the Portuguese defenders didn’t know how to deal with the new threat they were facing.
It sounds old-fashioned and outdated, but a strong, powerful, 6ft striker can do a whole lot of damage to a tired defence late on in a game.