Mark Noble says his West Ham United teammate Manuel Lanzini deserves his latest call-up to the Argentina international squad.
Lanzini has made just three appearances and one start for the Hammers since returning from a long-term knee injury suffered while training with his country ahead of last summer’s FIFA World Cup.
But despite his relative lack of recent action, the No10 has been included by former West Ham defender Lionel Scaloni in Argentina’s squad for friendly matches with Venezuela and Morocco later in March.
Noble, for one, would love to see ‘The Jewel’ sparkle at international level in those games and at this summer’s Copa America, seeing as he missed both Russia 2018 and the 2016 Olympic Games tournaments through injury.
Manu has been playing in the Premier League, which is the toughest league in the world, and if he is playing like he is here, he deserves it
“It’s fantastic and he deserves it and all because he’s been fantastic since he came back,” said the skipper. “It’s always nice to get recognition when you’ve played well and he has played well.
“Manu has been playing in the Premier League, which is the toughest league in the world, and if he is playing like he is here, he deserves it.
“It would be great for him to go to the Copa America. I am sure his first target is to get match-fit and play a lot of games until the end of the season and see where that takes him.
“He’s been out for a long time so it’s not like he’s going to be tired, so he could probably do with the football and South American boys are so passionate about playing for their countries.
“Manu was devastated to miss the World Cup, and you can only imagine how he felt, so it would be nice for him to meet up and go and play at a tournament with his national team.”
Before he heads off on international duty, Lanzini has the task of helping West Ham continue their recent upturn in form at Cardiff City on Saturday.
The Irons have lost just once in their previous five Premier League games, but they have also yet to win on the road this calendar year, and captain Noble knows they will need to earn any victory they achieve in Wales this weekend.
“It’s going to be a very tough game, especially at their place, as they’re fighting for their lives,” he observed, referring to the fact that Cardiff will kick-off in the bottom three.
“The fact is, if we don’t compete with them, then there is every chance we won’t pick up any points because they’re that structured, with the way they play, then if we go there and think we can play nice, easy football and don’t compete with them, there is a good chance we won’t pick up any points.
“As long as the boys know that they have to give absolutely everything, then we should be OK.”