Manuel Lanzini’s terrific 2017 reached another high Friday evening, as he received his first international cap for his country Argentina in their 1-0 friendly win over eternal rivals Brazil in Melbourne, Australia.
The Hammers playmaker came on for Ever Banega in the 81st minute, as Jorge Sampaoli’s tenure as coach of La Albiceleste got off to a winning start. Sevilla’s Gabriel Mercado, who was coached by Sampaoli for the Liga side this past season, scored the winner right before halftime in the 45th minute.
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Lanzini didn’t factor much, but it was a wonderful moment this year for the diminutive rising force from Ituzaingo. And despite just coming on in a short cameo, the West Ham Players’ Player of the Season impressed Hammers fans and others with his debut.
With Sampaoli calling Lanzini into his first squad, the “little Jewel” has a real chance at being selected for the World Cup next year if Argentina do make it. There is so much time and matches to be played before that can become a reality. But it’s just the latest sign of Lanzini’s reputation growing and growing.