Crespo backs Dybala for Argentina World Cup selection

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The Juventus striker was a notable absentee from his country's latest squad, but has been backed to earn a place in Russia

Hernan Crespo believes "truly important player" Paulo Dybala can force his way back into Jorge Sampaoli's plans and earn a place in Argentina's World Cup squad.

Juventus forward Dybala was among the surprise omissions from the Argentina squad for March friendlies against Italy and Spain, with Inter captain Mauro Icardi also missing out.

Sampaoli has suggested it is not too late for both strikers to seal a spot on the plane to Russia although there is fierce competition, with Argentina boasting strong forward options including Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Dybala's Juve team-mate Gonzalo Higuain.

Dybala has hit 17 Serie A goals in a season disrupted by injury and a loss of form, but former Argentina striker Crespo believes the 24-year-old has what it takes to make an impact at the World Cup.

"He is definitely ready," Crespo told Omnisport, speaking courtesy of Hublot.

"He is a great player, he is strong, he is a truly important player."

Sampaoli's side beat Italy 2-0 in Manchester on Friday despite being without Messi, with Ever Banega and Manual Lanzini on target for the Albiceleste.

And Crespo noted it is still early in Sampaoli's reign – he took charge in May 2017 after leaving Sevilla – so it is unclear what tactics the coach wishes to use at the World Cup.

"It all depends on the type of football Sampaoli wants to play," said Crespo. "If we know that then I can give you my opinion on which are the best choices.

"For example if you want to play with the ball on the ground and break through centrally, then I think you need players like Aguero and Higuain.

"If instead you want to develop your game wide providing crosses into the box then you want to pick Icardi, for example.

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"It all depends on the style of football he chooses. Unfortunately we don't know this yet because Sampaoli has just arrived leading the national team."

Icardi struck four goals in Inter's last match, a defeat of Sampdoria, to remind Sampaoli of his scoring ability.

The Inter striker has 22 goals in Serie A this season, with only Lazio's Ciro Immobile having outscored Icardi in the league, while Dybala is two clear of team-mate Higuain.

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