West Ham United defender Pablo Zabaleta feels that Manuel Lanzini’s inclusion in the latest Argentina squad can inspire his compatriot to even greater performances at club level.
The playmaker has been named in manager Jorge Sampaoli’s 23-man party for the upcoming friendly internationals with Italy and Spain despite having only two caps for his country.
With the World Cup finals coming up over the summer, it is undoubtedly a major chance for Lanzini to stake his claim for a spot on the plane to Russia.
Zabaleta agrees but warned the 25-year-old that he would need to maintain his form in claret and blue if he is to receive a call up for the main event in June.
“It’s great news for Manu to be back in the squad, especially as we are not far from the World Cup,” the veteran defender told the club’s official website.
“This at least means that the manager is looking at him, so I’m very happy for that, but he also needs a very good run of games between now and the end of the season, which will hopefully help West Ham play well and Manu to make the final list for the World Cup.”
With eight assists to his name across all competitions this term, Lanzini is one of the most potent creative talents in the Hammers setup.
However, with an attack which includes the likes of Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala and Angel Di Maria, Argentina have plenty of options to choose from and staying in the boss’ thoughts is easier said than done.
West Ham fans will simply be hoping that Lanzini can help fire them to Premier League safety; the club sit three points outside the relegation zone with nine matches still to play.
Should he play a key role between now and the end of the season, there is no reason why he should not be in the frame represent his nation in the summer on the world’s biggest stage.