Coach el Paton Bauza spoke with Radio Continental where he discussed and gave very specific information on his players. He said there are three players that are set in stone for him. They are: Otamendi, Funes Mori, and Mascherano. I have tried my best to paraphrase what he said for those who cannot understand or read Spanish.
On Pablo Zabaleta:
“For the matches against Uruguay and Venezuela I decided on him (instead of Gabriel Mercado) because he may come out better with the ball but they are very similar. I’m not worried about my decision because I know the one that I pick will be fine.”
On Sergio Agüero:
“He’s starting to lift his level for his club. He looks a lot better physically. I think it’s good that Guardiola makes his run more now, that modification has helped so that he could participate a lot more in the last 30 meters of the field. We’ll see how he plays.”
On Sergio Romero:
“With him I have no doubt, today he is the starting goalkeeper for the National Team.”
On Ángel Di María:
“I think that his nervousness that he has does not allow him to finish what he starts. For all his dynamic, velocity, and technique he should be finishing a lot better all the plays that he starts. From the tactical point of view he’s a very intelligent player but he needs to start contributing everything that he used to as it was different. He needs to be calmed down, relaxed, so that he can go back to what he used to be.”
On Lucas Alario:
“He is the future of the national team and if he doesn’t play I still want him with the team, so that he could gel with the other players because that will him as he could play at any moment.”
On Lionel Messi
“When he gets the ball he can throw off balance a team. Everyone is always expecting him to score or for him to invent something that will produce a problem for the rival but I think we need to learn how to play with and without him.”
On Marcos Rojo and Emmanuel Mas:
“They are the players that give me the most confidence even though a lot of people might not like this. Defensively, the team hasn’t had big problems but you need to keep improving and we’re looking at other players in this position but for now they are the ones who could play.”
On Lucas Pratto:
“He holds the ball well; he knows how to play with his back facing the defense and he knows how to trick defenders.”
On Mauro Icardi:
“He’s a player that could be picked at any time but that does invalidate those players that I have selected because the ones that are there have the same priority and are doing well just like he is. If he continues the way he is playing, he is part of the 60 players that we are following and they could be called up. No player on this team has told me that if he comes there might be problems. Whatever player that deserves a call up will be here.”
On Martín Demichelis:
“Everything that he contributes in every training, in every gathering, and in every discussion is invaluable.”
On another note:
Bauza also mentioned how he plans to line up the team before every match. He said he’s going to play with a 9 well placed in the area; it could be Pratto, Higuain, or Alario, but someone will always be placed in this area.
In regards to his latest call up: “I called up the same players to repeat the training that we did.” He also said that he is following closely various players: Emiliano Insúa, Santiago García (Werder Bremen) and Nicolás Tagliafico.