Thursday 22 December 2016, 12:43

Bauza: Tevez is a player who can win matches

Edgardo Bauza has stated that Gonzalo Higuain is Argentina’s first-choice spearhead and opened the door to Carlos Tevez earning an international recall.

With Higuain and Sergio Aguero struggling, Lucas Pratto led the line in La Albceleste’s lastest 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifier, and scored to aid a much-needed 3-0 victory over Colombia. Bauza nevertheless suggested that the Juventus striker will begin their next preliminary at home to Chile in March.

“The first-choice No9 is Higuain,” said ‘Bigfoot’. “Pratto is a player I know well – I tried to take him to Sao Paulo when I was coach there. He always produces.”

One man who is incessantly touted as an answer to Argentina’s scoring problems is Mauro Icardi. The 23-year-old hasn’t represented his country since winning his solitary cap in 2013, but is the 14-goal leading marksman in Serie A this season and netted twice in Inter Milan’s 3-0 defeat of Lazio on Wednesday.

“Icardi will be called up if anything happens to any of those players because he is the third central striker,” explained Bauza. “I’m not ruling out calling up some players I haven’t already. We have a list of 60 players.

“At the same time, we have a solid base of call-ups because we know that these players have played a lot of games for the national team. Playing in the World Cup qualifiers is very difficult, so experience is really important.”

El Apache to return? Experience is something Tevez certainly isn’t shy of. The 32-year-old made his international debut 12 years ago and has 76 caps to his name. Although the three-time South American Footballer of the Year recipient hasn’t played for Argentina since October 2015 – or scored for them since June 2011 – he has dazzled for Boca Juniors of late.

“Tevez is a player I have always taken into account,” said Bauza. “He surprised me when he said that he wanted to quit football. His standard distances him from the possibility of retirement. He’s a player who can win matches.”

Tevez scored both Argentina's goals in their 2-1 win over Mexico in the Round of 16 at South Africa 2010. He missed out on their squad for Brazil 2014. The former Manchester United and Manchester City man was one of the initial ten nominees for the FIFA Puskás Award for 2015, courtesy of a breathtaking goal for Juventus against Parma, but didn't make the final three.

Argentina are fifth – the inter-continental playoff position – in South American qualifying for Russia 2018, one point behind Ecuador and Chile and one above Colombia.