Otamendi returns while Foyth, Pereyra & De Paul earn calls in Argentina squad for October friendlies

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After the positive first steps under interim coach Lionel Scaloni earlier this month Argentina have named a similar squad for the October friendlies against Iraq and Brazil in Saudi Arabia.

Scaloni, who may come under serious consideration for the role permanently if Argentina defeat Brazil on October 16th, handed international returns to Nicolás Otamendi and Roberto Pereyra as well as maiden call-ups for Juan Foyth and Rodrigo de Paul.

With the exception of Leonel Di Plácido and Matías Vargas dropping out, Argentina will travel to Saudi Arabia with an otherwise similar squad to the one that easily defeated Guatemala and drew with Colombia in the United States.

Lionel Messi and much of the older generation remain absent but Scaloni will be pleased to add Otamendi’s experience to the defensive unit. The Manchester City defender last played for Argentina in the World Cup defeat to France but may well captain the side in October and rekindle his partnership with Ramiro Funes Mori.

Roberto Pereyra on the other hand hasn’t pulled on the Albiceleste shirt since October 2015 under Gerardo Martino but has started the season in terrific form, scoring three times for Watford in the Premier League.

And another player to have been rewarded for splendid early season form is Rodrigo de Paul. The Racing Club academy product earns his first Argentina call-up having scored four goals in six Serie A games for Udinese and currently leading the scoring charts in Italy.

Tottenham defender Juan Foyth hasn’t played a single minute this term under Mauricio Pochettino but also gets his first senior call having starred for the Under-20s previously and remaining one of Argentina’s top defensive prospects.

The debutants and some of the more fringe players are likely to get playing time when Argentina face Iraq on October 11th before Scaloni presumably selects his strongest possible eleven for the game against Brazil.

Gabriel Mercado’s injury still rules him out but Eduardo Salvio is available once more after withdrawing from the previous squad and so Scaloni only has doubts over Gonzalo Martínez and Lautaro Martínez.

River Plate winger Gonzalo impressed on his goalscoring debut against Guatemala but limped off in Sunday’s Superclásico and faces a fitness battle to be ready for next week’s Copa Libertadores clash against Independiente. While Inter striker Lautaro missed the previous friendlies and flew back to Italy for treatment so Argentina will be hoping to this time be able to take a look at the 21-year-old along with teammate Mauro Icardi.

Goalkeepers
Sergio Romero (Manchester United)
Gerónimo Rulli (Real Sociedad)
Franco Armani (River Plate)

Defenders
Nicolás Otamendi (Manchester City)
Ramiro Funes Mori (Villarreal)
Germán Pezzella (Fiorentina)
Walter Kannemann (Grêmio)
Juan Foyth (Tottenham Hotspur)
Nicolás Tagliafico (Ajax)
Alan Franco (Independiente)
Fabricio Bustos (Independiente)
Renzo Saravia (Racing Club)

Midfielders
Santiago Ascacibar (VfB Stuttgart)
Leandro Paredes (Zenit St. Petersburg)
Giovani Lo Celso (Real Betis)
Franco Vázquez (Sevilla)
Rodrigo de Paul (Udinese)
Roberto Pereyra (Watford)
Eduardo Salvio (Benfica)
Franco Cervi (Benfica)
Rodrigo Battaglia (Sporting CP)
Marcos Acuña (Sporting CP)
Maxi Meza (Independiente)
Ezequiel Palacios (River Plate)

Forwards
Cristian Pavón (Boca Juniors)
Gonzalo Martínez (River Plate)
Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
Mauro Icardi (Inter)
Lautaro Martínez (Inter)
Ángel Correa (Atlético Madrid)
Giovanni Simeone (Fiorentina)

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