Monday, 18 May 2015

SPORT NEWS: Martino: Di Maria still key for Argentina

The forward has endured a tough first season for Manchester United but remains a favourite of his national team boss
Gerardo Martino remains convinced that Ángel Di María can play a major role for Argentina at the Copa América despite his struggles at Manchester United.
The 27-year-old arrived at Old Trafford last summer from Real Madrid for a British record fee of €82.4 million after a season that saw him win the Champions League and finish runner-up at the World Cup.
But after a bright start in England, his form has tailed off badly in recent months and he last started a game for United in their home FA Cup defeat by Arsenal at the start of March – a match in which the South American was sent off.

However, he remains a key figure for Martino who normally likes to use the left-footer as part of his mobile attacking front three.
“In some cases there are players with a long career playing with the national team who could be going through a rough spell at their clubs, but nobody could think of leaving them out,” he told the Argentina Football Association’s official magazine. “That’s the case with Di María.
“I’d rather he be happy and continue to be a decisive player like he was for Benfica and Real Madrid, but I wouldn’t think that his current situation (at Manchester United) would hurt his chances of playing at the Copa América.”
In an interview in which he answered questions from Argentina fans, Martino also reserved special words of praise for Paris Saint-Germain playmaker Javier Pastore.

The 25-year-old has become a hugely influential presence in the French capital this term as his club clinched the domestic title for the second season in succession.
Pastore also impressed in Argentina’s last international get-together at the end of March, scoring the winner in the 2-1 victory over Ecuador, and Martino has hinted he could have a big role to play in Chile this summer.
“Javier played in our last friendlies and had a very, very good performance and he’s doing well at Paris Saint-Germain,” he continued.
“As for the position I see him in, I guess it’s the one we all see; ahead of the two defensive midfielders or to the left of the lone central midfielder.
“I have great expectations regarding the level he can reach and what he can bring to the team.”