Gonzalo Higuain has been left out of Argentina’s squad for their crunch World Cup qualifier against Uruguay and Venezuela but there is a recall for Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero.
Jorge Sampaoli will lead Argentina in competitive action for the first time after the former Chile and Sevilla coach took charge for June friendlies against Brazil and Singapore.
On that occasion Aguero was omitted despite a fine run of form in the Premier League towards the end of last season.
This time around, Juventus star Higuain finds himself as the odd man out among Argentina’s vast array of attacking riches as Inter captain Mauro Icardi retains his place.
Aguero’s club colleague Nicolas Otamendi is one of only five specialist defenders named by Sampaoli, along with Nicolas Pareja – the 33-year-old Sevilla centre-back who will hope to add to the solitary senior international cap he won in 2010.
That number is likely to be bolstered when Sampaoli turns towards local Primera Division call-ups, with the likes of River Plate duo Jonathan Maidana and Javier Pinola and Independiente full-back Nicolas Tagliafico among those in contention.
Sporting CP’s Marcos Acuna and Benfica’s Eduardo Salvio come in to bolster Sampaoli’s options in midfield, where Lucas Biglia has been named but is unlikely to feature after AC Milan ruled their new signing out for four weeks with a thigh injury.
Argentina currently lie fifth in the CONMEBOL qualifying section, occupying the inter-confederation play-off spot with four matches remaining.
A 2-0 defeat in Bolivia last time out cause Sampaoli’s predecessor Edgardo Bauza his job.
[ELIMINATORIAS] Jorge Sampaoli dio la lista de jugadores convocados, que militan en el exterior, para enfrentar a Uruguay y Venezuela. pic.twitter.com/uIYVEIA6gE
— Selección Argentina (@Argentina) August 11, 2017
Argentina squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Nahuel Guzman (Tigres), Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Geronimo Rulli (Real Sociedad)
Defenders: Federico Fazio (Roma), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Nicolas Pareja (Sevilla)
Midfielders: Marcos Acuna (Sporting CP), Ever Banega (Sevilla), Lucas Biglia (AC Milan), Angel Di Maria (PSG), Augusto Fernandez (Atletico Madrid), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham United), Leandro Paredes (Zenit), Guido Pizarro (Sevilla), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica)
Forwards: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Joaquin Correa (Sevilla), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Mauco Icardi (Inter), Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
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