Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza has waded into the debate over whether Mauro Icardi warrants a place in his squad and aside from denying rumours that senior players dictate who is called up, El Patón confirmed that he has spoken with the controversial striker and Inter Milan over the imminent inclusion of the 23-year-old.
Despite Inter’s troubles under Frank De Boer this season, Icardi has had little problem in front of goal and with eight goal and two assists, the club captain has been in fine form. Given Argentina’s stuttering start to life under Edgardo Bauza and the failings of several more recognised strikers, many have been calling for Icardi to form a new look Albiceleste attack.
Speaking on Argentine radio, Bauza said, “I spoke with Icardi and I’m following him.
“We spoke about Icardi with [Javier] Zanetti [Former Argentina international and vice-president of Inter Milan] about the National Team advising him that at any moment Icardi will be called up.”
While there are little doubt over Icardi’s talents on the pitch, there are still question marks over how he integrates into the squad with rumours of senior players like Javier Mascherano and Lionel Messi not wanting the young centre-forward in the group following his much-publicised marriage to Wanda Nara, the ex-wife of former teammate Maxi López.
Bauza was quick to dispell stories of such player authority – “They say that Messi selects the squad but to the people who know me, I don’t need to explain anything.
“If at any time a senior official or player imposes conditions on me, I’ll pack up a bag and go home,” affirmed the Copa Liberatadores winning coach.
Icardi’s previous involvement with Argentina was under Alejandro Sabella in 2013 when World Cup qualification was already guaranteed and the striker came on as a late substitute in a 3-2 defeat to Uruguay.
Since then, Icardi’s stock has risen considerably and it is perhaps fair to say that many Argentina supporters have lost faith in the likes of Gonzalo Higuaín and Sergio Agüero.
Bauza spoke about the senior pair and explained that, “they are more desperate than the people to score goals. The level of commitment they have for the shirt is very good.”
Argentina’s next World Cup qualifiers against Brazil and Colombia are critical after the defeat to Paraguay and while Bauza is not bothered by the critics, he does understand their frustration.
“I don’t get angry. We lost against Paraguay at home so it’s logical they people criticise. The players are accustomed to this but the result of the next World Cup qualifier is very important.”
While the mention of a possible call for Icardi and a view to encorporating some younger players is a positive, it is worth noting that not only did Bauza just bring Ezequiel Lavezzi back into the group but he also mentioned the possibility of speaking to Carlos Tevez.
“I have to speak with Carlos [Tevez] but for me he still has a lot to give. He is a player that 100% could still be called.”