Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli has called upon the experienced Enzo Perez to complete his squad for the forthcoming World Cup tournament in light of Manuel Lanzini's recent injury misfortune.
The 32-year-old takes the place of the West Ham schemer following the news that the forward had cruelly suffered a rupture of his anterior cruciate knee ligament on the eve on what would have been his first major competition representing his national side.
Change of style for Messi and co.?
Former Benfica and Valencia ball-player Perez may not be a like-for-like swap for the diminutive playmaker in that he prefers a slightly deeper position from midfield as opposed to being a genuine 'number ten'. However, he can offer Sampaoli's men the nous and knowledge that Lanzini would not have been able to.
This will be his second encounter of a World Cup, having been selected in the squad by then-manager Alejandro Sabella for the 2014 edition in Brazil, where he played 86 minutes in their 1-0 defeat to Germany in the final.
He will, therefore, be able to call upon his past experiences to guide and advise the younger members of the squad who may not be so well-acclimatised to the biggest stage of them all.
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Key role for Di Maria
With Lanzini now absent, the onus may fall upon Angel Di Maria alone to be the most offensive player from central midfield and support whoever is selected from the star-studded attacking quartet of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Pablo Dybala. The River Plate academy graduate had been seen as a crucial link between midfield and attack.
As Perez has more of the attributes of a box-to-box player, this may now cause Sampaoli to alter how he sends his men out for their opening match against Iceland on June 16.