Lanzini dreaming of World Cup after being named in Argentina squad

Manuel Lanzini in action against Argentina teammate Nicolas Otamendi



Manuel Lanzini is back in action and taking aim the 2018 FIFA World Cup after being named in Argentina's squad for friendly internationals with Italy and Spain.

West Ham United’s talented No10 made his debut for La Celeste against Brazil in June 2017 and quickly followed that with a second cap in Singapore. The 25-year-old was then named in his country’s squad for World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Venezuela last September, only to be forced to withdraw after suffering a knee injury.

Lanzini, who now has another chance to impress, revealed he met with Argentina manager Cesar Sampaoli recently and has been told he has the opportunity to be part of the final 23-man squad who will travel to Russia.

“We have friendly matches with Italy and Spain and then of course the World Cup to look forward to, and it is one of my ambitions to be in the squad, but I need to play well here for West Ham because Argentina have very good players,” said the playmaker, who was previously capped at U20 level, but also missed out on the 2016 Olympic Games after being injured while preparing for the tournament.

“I have a chance and even if it is the smallest chance I hope I can go with the national team. It’s one of my dreams to go to the World Cup, as it is for every player, but I need to play very well here first.

“The coach was in London last month and I spoke with him and he told me how I stand and I hope I can impress him between now and the end of the season.”

Argentina finished third in South American qualifying and have been drawn to face Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria in Group D in Russia this summer. Before then, they will take on Italy at the City of Manchester Stadium on 23 March and Spain in Madrid four days later.