Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Giovani Lo Celso has impressed in both of Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers this month.
The Spurs ace was on the bench for last week’s draw with Paraguay but, after replacing the injured Exequiel Palacios on 29 minutes, staked his claim for a starting spot.
By this point, Argentina were a goal down, Angel Romero having opened the scoring with a 21st-minute penalty, but Lo Celso’s assist for Nicolas Gonzales on 41 minutes helped restore parity.
As well as his assist, the Tottenham man created a total of four chances, provided three key passes, won 10 duels, made eight recoveries of the ball and had a passing success rate of 88 percent.
He also provided a cutback for Lionel Messi to fire into the back of the net, only for the goal to ruled out for a foul in the build-up after a VAR check.
Lionel Scaloni duly rewarded Lo Celso with a place in the starting XI for the trip to Peru and once again the Spurs star shone.
TyC Sports gave Lo Celso 8 out of 10 and wrote: “Two consecutive games of the former Rosario Central (ace) that put him as a starter in March, regardless of whether Mourinho makes him play a lot or a little.
“Good assist to Nico González on the first goal. The partner that Messi needed.”
Meanwhile, Ole gave him 7 out of 10 and wrote: “With the assistance of Nico González in the opener – arriving as a winger – he confirmed his place as a starter after having been the (key) figure against Paraguay.
“He was also key as a spare wheel for the team. Something to value: Messi always looked forward. He finished with yellow for an infraction.”
It’s been an amazing international break for a player who, just a week ago, was slated by Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho for seemingly not being fit enough.
Speaking after Spurs’ 3-1 win over Ludogorets, he said of Lo Celso: “Good with the ball and not very good without the ball. His physical condition is not good.”
Argentina ran out 2-0 winners in Lima, Nicolas Gonzalez and Lautaro Martinez with the goals.
The two-time world champions are now unbeaten in six, sitting second in the CONMEBOL table.