Lanzini delighted by Argentina call-up


Manuel Lanzini cannot wait to get down to work with the star-studded Argentina squad after being called up by his country for the first time at senior level.

The outstanding West Ham United No10 has been included in La Celeste’s 20-man selection for a mouth-watering friendly with Brazil in Melbourne, Australia, on 9 June, followed by a first-ever meeting with Singapore four days later.

Lanzini, who has scored 15 times in 70 appearances in Claret and Blue, is excited by the prospect of training and playing alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala and former Hammer Javier Mascherano.

“I’m very happy for this,” he told West Ham TV. “To get a call from Argentina is a surprise, but now I’ll go to Argentina and relax and then I’ll concentrate on the games.

“Of course I am very excited. It’s very good to play with Argentina and with my country. It’s amazing and I’m looking forward to playing with amazing players.

“I feel ready because the coach [Jorge] Sampaoli called me for the team and I am happy for this.”

Should Lanzini impress in the two summer friendly internationals, the 24-year-old will hope to keep his place for Argentina’s next round of vital 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The two-times champions and 2014 runners-up are in danger of missing out on automatic qualification for Russia and need to win in Uruguay and home to Venezuela if they are to get their campaign back on track.

Of course I am very excited. It’s very good to play with Argentina and with my country

Manuel Lanzini

Manuel Lanzini

So, is he now targeting a place in Argentina’s World Cup squad?

“Maybe, maybe!” he smiled. Now it’s time for me to be quiet and concentrate on these games. It’s one chance for me to prove myself and I need to demonstrate myself.”

Back at domestic level, Lanzini has become a hero among the Claret and Blue Army, particularly after ending the season in superb form.

The Buenos Aires-born star recently netted the winner in the home victory over Tottenham Hotspur and was again to the fore in Sunday’s win at Burnley.

“We needed to finish like this,” said the man who made more Premier League appearances than any other Hammer this season. “Three points were very important as we were playing against a good Burnley team. The first half was half-and-half as we were asleep in the first minutes, but after that we played good.

“Now is time to relax and go to visit my family, my friends and my son. It’s good for us to finish like this. I go home now to visit my family.

“I need to come back here and the fans for West Ham are amazing. It’s very good for me because they always sing my name and this is amazing.”