Messi set to feature at the Boleyn!

With a squad packed full of world-class stars such as Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, Argentina manager Tata Martino has perhaps one of the most enviable jobs in football.

Considering the squad he has to choose from in tomorrow night's mouth-watering match with Croatia at the Boleyn Ground, it is almost staggering that they were not crowned champions at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference at West Ham United's Rush Green Academy, Martino said the likes of former Hammer Tevez and Messi could well feature against Niko Kovac's side.


"In principle we are planning to use as many as possible, like we did in Asia [where Argentina faced Brazil and Hong Kong] We need to make the most of this opportunity as it is a competitive friendly," Martino confirmed.

The match could see Hammers' favourite Tevez return to the stadium where he first made his name in European football.

Speaking about El Apache's chances of playing for his country for the first time in three years on Wednesday evening, Martino responded positively: "He's back in the squad after playing well for Juventus. Will he play on Wednesday? I need to look at him in training then I will make a decision.I will try to give as many minutes to as many players as possible.

"The international break is a good opportunity to spend with the players, we don't have many opportunities like this. I have been pleasantly surprised at how well Carlos has been doing so far. I wasn't expecting anything different, but it always nice to see."

Carlos Tevez in training at Rush Green on Tuesday

Martino has only been charge of Los Albiceleste for a matter of months, yet he is positive that Argentina are on the right track to go one better than they did in Brazil.

"I have my own philosophy, I saw what we did well and what we can improve on in the World Cup. It's a new start for everybody, for Carlos as well as some of the younger players.

"We know Croatia are a good side, even though they have a young and inexperienced squad. But we are looking more at ourselves, how we are playing together than the opposition.

"With so many options to choose from, Aguero is top scorer in England but Tevez is doing well in Italy, I have to be flexible. We have a system and we have to stick to that. We have a core idea and main philosophy which isn't in place yet, it is just the start.

"Di Maria has one role at United and a different one in Argentina. He's a fantastic player who can play many different roles."

The former Barcelona manager has an embarrassement of riches all over the pitch, with former Hammer Mascherano and the magical Messi among them. Both could start in east London on Wednesday evening.

"Mascherano can play in many areas in midfield and defence, but I haven't decided where he will play yet. It depends on the team we face.

"Messi is a special player, there is no doubt about that. A lot of people always talk about him carrying the team, either Barca or Argentina. I think that's unfair to his other teammates who are also very good players.

"We have three or four plans, possession-based, high pressing and trying to maximise situations to our advantage."

So, what prospect of Messi ever turning out in the Barclays Premier League?

"It is very hard for me to say, I'm not his club manager. He's got the quality, and the Premier League is a very hard, skilful division."

Argentina squad: Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Sampdoria), Willy Caballero (Manchester City), Nahuel Guzman (Tigres);Defenders: Nicolas Otamendi (Valencia), Cristian Ansaldi (Atletico Madrid), Facundo Roncaglia (Genoa), Martín Demichelis (Manchester City), Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Federico Fazio (Tottenham), Jonathan Silva (Sporting Lisbon), Santiago Vergini (Sunderland);Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Ever Banega (Sevilla), Roberto Pereyra (Juventus), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Angel Di Maria (Manchester United), Erik Lamela (Tottenham), Javier Pastore (PSG), Enzo Perez (Benfica), Nicolas Gaitan (Benfica);Strikers: Carlos Tevez (Juventus), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City).

*Tickets will be available on the night at the Boleyn Ground. Please arrive early!

The Stadium Store will also be open late on Wednesday evening, giving Hammers fans the opportunity to complete some early Christmas shopping!