NEWS
Tuesday January 2 2018
Lopetegui: Eyes on Costa, Lucas…

Spain boss Julen Lopetegui says he is hoping Diego Costa’s “competitive spirit” will shine through but denies Lucas Hernandez can play for the country.

Costa is ready to start his campaign after finally being cleared to play for Atletico Madrid, and Lopetegui made it clear the former Chelsea striker was in his thoughts for the World Cup next summer.

“I want Diego to be in his natural habitat: on the pitch,” he told Marca.

“He’s found himself in a difficult and strange situation for several months, but I know he’s been pushing himself in training and that he’s in good shape.

“We’ll see how he starts the campaign because it’s not easy after so much time out.

“Diego has a competitive spirit, which feeds him during times of conflict, weakness and demand. It can help him.”

However, the Coach was less enthusiastic when asked about French-born defender Lucas, who had reportedly accepted an offer to represent La Roja last month.

“He’s not in contention,” he added. “Talking about him would be wrong.”

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