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SUPER SUB

The curious case of Alvaro Morata keeps Dream Team World Cup managers intrigued but wary

Alvaro Morata has long been divisive figure.

His admirers rightly herald his movement, technical ability, aerial threat and football intelligence.

His critics struggle to see anything other than a frustratingly wasteful finisher.

As is often the case, the reality lies in the middle ground.

Morata has been Spain’s super sub in Qatar

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Morata has been Spain’s super sub in Qatar

Generally speaking, Dream Team World Cup managers have stayed clear of the Atletico Madrid striker, preferring to invest in more reliable goalscorers such as Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and the like.

It’s not and open-and-shut case though, because Spain are arguably the best international team in the world between in space between the penalty areas.

With Pedri, Gavi, Dani Olmo and company providing plenty of creativity, the temptation to back the centre-forward on the receiving end of La Roja’s approach play is strong, no matter who that individual may be.

Gaffers who swerved Morata (3.1% ownership) would have felt relieved when the 30-year-old, who complained of some mild cold-like symptoms, was named on the bench against Costa Rica last week.

However, there was a twist in the tale as Morata came off the bench midway through the second half to assist one goal before scoring one of his own as the Central Americans collapsed to a 7-0 defeat.

Spain dismantled Costa Rica in their first outing

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Spain dismantled Costa Rica in their first outing

Incredibly, the ex-Chelsea striker then repeated the trick against Germany as he scored eight minutes after his introduction in the second half.

After two games, Morata has scored two goals and assisted another despite only being on the pitch for 69 minutes.

This efficient effort has resulted in 15 points, a tally only bettered by two other forwards among those who have played just two games at the time of writing.

And so, it’s all eyes on Luis Enrique’s starting line-up this evening when Spain take on Japan as the 2010 world champions seek to confirm their place in the last 16.

Given that Morata has massed 15 points from just 69 minutes so far, the luxury of a start could be very profitable indeed.

Dream Team World Cup gaffers will probably need to make some transfers once the group stage is done and dusted and Spain’s No7 should be on a few shortlists at least… unless he’s benched again this evening.