- Associated Press - Friday, August 28, 2015

MADRID (AP) - Spain coach Vicente del Bosque on Friday included goalkeeper David de Gea, Diego Costa and Juan Mata in his squad to take on Slovakia and Macedonia in qualifying matches for next year’s European Championship.

Del Bosque called up De Gea even though he has not played for Manchester United so far this season amid speculation over a possible move to Real Madrid. Former Madrid keeper Iker Casillas is also included in the squad.

“It’s true he hasn’t been in official competitions, which is a requirement, but we are in the early part of the season,” Del Bosque said of De Gea’s inclusion, explaining that the player has trained and is ready to play.

Del Bosque said he expected De Gea’s club situation was only “temporary” and would be resolved by Sept. 1, when the transfer window will have closed.

“He is a goalkeeper that, like Casillas, we think will defend Spain’s goal for many years.”

United coach Louis van Gaal has sidelined the 24-year-old, saying the speculation may have unsettled him.

Costa is in attack alongside his new Chelsea teammate Pedro Rodriguez, while Mata is in the midfield.

The coach said Costa had recovered from injuries that have prevented him from finding his form within Del Bosque’s squad after he chose to play for Spain rather than his native Brazil.

Del Bosque said it was crucial to get six points from the two matches.

Spain, which is aiming for a third consecutive European crown in France next year, hosts Slovakia in Oviedo on Sept. 5 and travels to Skopje to meet Macedonia three days later.

Del Bosque said competition for places was intense and although he had not selected Bayern midfielder Thiago Alcantara, he described him as an exciting player. “We are confident that he is our future,” he said.

Spain is second in Group C after six matches, three points behind leader Slovakia, who beat Del Bosque’s team 2-1 in October. Third-place Ukraine lags Spain by three points.



Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (FC Porto), David de Gea (Manchester United), Sergio Rico (Sevilla)

Defenders: Juanfran Torres (Atletico Madrid), Daniel Carvajal (Real Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Marc Bartra (Barcelona), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Juan Bernat (Bayern)

Midfielders: Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion (Atletico Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Francisco “Isco” Alarcon (Real Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City), Juan Mata (Manchester United)

Forwards: Paco Alcacer (Valencia), Diego Costa (Chelsea), Victor “Vitolo” Machin (Sevilla), Pedro Rodriguez (Chelsea)

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