Gerardo Martino has been reflecting on his tenure thus far as Argentina manager as well as touching on some of the major talking points for the national side during an interview with the radio program De Caño Vale Doble. In addition to marking his performance so far, Tata also touched on the subjects of fitting Tevez into the side, Copa América expectations, a possible call up for the in-form Paulo Dybala and Diego Simeone replacing Sabella.
Speaking openly Gerardo Martino gave a pretty fair assessment of his reign so far in charge of La Selección: “So far, I would give myself a 5 (out of ten) for my management in charge of the selection.”
With victories of Germany, Hong Kong and Croatia but defeats to Brazil and Portugal few would disagree. Martino has still been tweaking his side, trying new players and until the more serious matches begin in 2015 it is far too early to judge his Argentina.
The main talking point from Martino’s charge so far has of course been the recall of Carlos Tevez. His two substitute appearances in the recent friendlies failed to live up to the hype that surrounds a call up for the ‘champion of the people’ but the door is now back open and we can expect to see more of Tevez in 2015. However, Martino maintained that, “it is impossible to start Agüero, Higuaín, Tevez and Messi.” His initial decision that Tevez would compete with the likes of Higuaín for the number nine role appears to still be the case.
Martino then touched on the subject that Atlético Madrid manager, Diego Simeone might have been the AFA’s number one choice once Alejandro Sabella left the post in the wake of the World Cup. Tata did not shirk this though: “It was indicated (that Simeone was the first choice) but he understood that he was not ready. Today he is above Ancelotti and Low.”
On expectations for the Copa América next year, Martino was unequivocal: “Argentina has the obligation to be in the final.”
A hot topic in the past couple of weeks has been that of Palermo’s young Argentine striker, Paulo Dybala, who Italy have made no secret of their hopes to snatch the youngster away. Martino was asked if he was considering given the 21-year-old his first international call but he neither confirmed nor denied this. “He (Dybala) is having a great season, but there are other players who we are observing like Ulloa, Icardi and Di Santo.”
Ulloa was reportedly close to agreeing to represent Chile, as Mauro Zárate did and Icardi and Di Santo have already represented Argentina so there is no risk of losing them to another international side. If Dybala’s present form continues Martino would be wise to ensure his future with La Albiceleste.
Domestically, Martino highlighted Independiente captain, Federico Mancuello, describing him as “the best of the Argentine league.” Presumably this is still some way off the actual squad though, given the competition for places in Mancuello’s position.
We have already seen Martino experiment a little with his squads and it sounds as though there are even more players lining up. The door for the 2015 Copa América squad is well and truly open.