Red-hot Borussia Dortmund striker Paco Alcacer said he is ready to seize the chance to grab Spain’s number nine shirt after returning to the national team following a two-year absence.
With Atletico Madrid star Diego Costa still out injured, Spain coach Luis Enrique has added Alcacer to an attacking line-up that already features Alvaro Morata (Chelsea), Rodrigo (Valencia) and Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo) for upcoming games with Wales and England.
Although expecting a battle to even start, Alcacer – who has hit seven goals in four matches for Dortmund since joining on loan following an unhappy spell at parent club Barcelona – is determined to grab his opportunity.
It might help his case that the number nine shirt, currently worn by Rodrigo, has found no permanent takers in recent years.
“I’m very proud to be here, it’s the reward for all the work I’ve put in since the start of the season,” Alcacer told media from Spain’s training base at Las Rozas outside Madrid.
“I’ve always wanted to come back to the national side.
“The level here is really high, so I will have to match that if I even want to be picked. But I want to contribute what I can and seize my opportunity when it comes along.”
Alcacer, 25, last played for Spain in March 2016. To date, he has scored six goals in 13 appearances.
Despite being recalled by Luis Enrique, who kept him on the bench for much of his time at Barcelona, Alcacer added: “At Barcelona it was very difficult because you’re up against the likes of Luis (Suarez), Leo (Messi), Ousmane (Dembele) and Philippe (Coutinho), who are all top quality strikers.
“Luis Enrique is a very professional coach, very direct. He explains things clearly, what he wants and what he doesn’t want.”
Spain face Wales away in a friendly on Thursday before meeting World Cup semi-finalists England in the Nations League on Monday.