Former Liverpool and Manchester United star Michael Owen feels that leaving out Diego Costa from Spain’s squad for the EUROs could be a decision made on the grounds of team morale.
The Chelsea forward has always been in the news for his aggressive behavior and regular bust-ups with opponents in his career.
The former Brazil international has scored just once in his 10 appearances for the Spanish national team.
Owen told the Mirror: “I suppose if you know you’re not going to be starting them, do you want them in the squad potentially disrupting the harmony in the camp?
“It’s similar to Gazza in ‘98. Hoddle wanted to start with Scholes and wasn’t sure about having Paul in the squad if he wasn’t playing so he overlooked him. We’ve seen sulky players in the France squad who have caused an implosion and derailed any chances of success so I can understand the philosophy.”
Owen’s former England teammate Danny Mills agreed, saying: “A Diego Costa sat on the bench could become a harmful figure in the squad so it’s a risk taking him if you’re not going to make him a starter.”
Owen was also optimistic of the defending champions chances in defending their crown, saying You have to think Spain will top the group but you could make a case for any of the others to finish in any order.”
He added: “Spain had a bit of an ageing squad at the World Cup two years ago and couldn’t stay the distance. Their squad looks fresher now with Saul Niguez, Thiago and Koke providing some youthful exuberance.”