Diego Costa’s place in the Spanish national team is safe for now despite his struggles for country, and that’s because of his work with his club.
David De Gea’s spot in the side, however, is at risk because of his lack of work at Manchester United, where he remains unsettled.
Those are the sentiments of Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque, who spoke ahead of his side’s critical Saturday match against Slovakia in Euro 2016 qualification.
Loosely-translated, Del Bosque says it will be “very difficult” for De Gea to make Spain’s roster for next summer’s tournament if he doesn’t play regularly for United.
“If I do feel the need to talk to him about it then I will say something,” Del Bosque added.
“He needs to be professional and move on from this episode. I hope that he starts playing again and is happy, and if he plays well we can bring him along.”
And while surely there will be a resolution to the goalkeeper’s problems at Old Trafford, whether Louis van Gaal will be willing to trot him out consistently is another story.
Spain has Iker Casillas in camp, as well as uncapped Sevilla shotstopper Sergio Rico. Real Madrid No. 2 Kiko Casilla and Villarreal’s Sergio Asenjo have also been called up in the last year.
On the other side of the equation is Costa, who has performed well for Chelsea but largely disappointed since eschewing his birth nation of Brazil to play with Spain. Costa has one goal in 7 caps, and that came a year ago against Luxembourg.
Del Bosque says he’s not pleased with that lack of international production, but cannot ignore how well Costa has played at Stamford Bridge. And the 26-year-old striker wants to perform for his boss:
“It`s very important to me personally to perform well and score goals as that will give me confidence,” he said.
“There are no excuses, I need to do better. I haven`t done anything yet and I think I can give a lot more. I am in a team with the current champions but I am feeling more comfortable all the time and closer to my team mates and that`s very important too.”
De Gea should get back into the United lineup, and keep his Euro spot safe. As for Costa, there’s a legion of young Spanish strikers from Alvaro Morata down the line champing at the bit for a chance to play for Del Bosque. Scoring, or at least playmaking, in these crucial qualifiers is a necessity.