Jorge Sampaoli bolstered his Argentina squad for this month’s friendlies against Italy and Spain on Monday and as expected Racing Club striker Lautaro Martínez was among the five new additions.
Martínez was named along with Boca Juniors pair Cristian Pavón and Pablo Pérez and Independiente duo Fabricio Bustos and Maxi Meza.
With no place for Mauro Icardi or Paulo Dybala, Argentina were clearly light in attack and so Lautaro Martínez’s place appeared obvious. Jorge Sampaoli has been a regular at the Cilindro and witnessed two hat-tricks by the young striker in the past month so it is no real surprise to see the 20-year-old get his first senior international call.
[SELECCIÓN MAYOR] Con estos jugadores del fútbol local, Jorge Sampaoli completó la lista de convocados para los partidos ante Italia y España. pic.twitter.com/YVHflTxDji
— Selección Argentina (@Argentina) March 12, 2018
Martínez has made a prolific start to 2018, with eight goals and three assists in eight appearances, and aside from being on the verge of agreeing a big money move to Inter, offers something a little different to many other attacking options available.
A natural goal scorer, like Icardi in that respect, Martínez is equally comfortable outside the penalty area or in the channels where he can turn provider if he required. This workrate and ability to link play, in addition to his predatory penalty box instincts is something that has attracted Sampaoli to the youngster.
With the news that Sergio Agüero faces a race to be fit for the friendlies, Lautaro Martínez could well make his debut against Italy in Manchester.
Cristian Pavón remains in the squad after impressing in last November’s friendlies against Russia and Nigeria, while maintaining his impressive club form with Boca Juniors.
The 22-year-old may still lack awareness at times but with an eye for goal, terrifying pace and an ability to get behind the full-back, few can offer the same qualities as Pavón.
¡Será siempre #Independiente!
— C. A. Independiente (@Independiente) March 12, 2018