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Greece manager Otto Rehhagel has made a surprise call-up ahead of his side’s World Cup Qualifiers against Luxembourg and Latvia, choosing uncapped 20-year-old AEK midfielder Vassilios Pliatsikas as a replacement for injured striker Ioannis Amanatidis.

Pliatsikas has represented his country at youth level and could potentially make his debut for the senior side against Luxembourg on Saturday.

The youngster was handed a starting place by AEK manager Giorgios Donis in Sunday’s derby clash against Panathinaikos and produced a combative performance as his side fought their way to a 2-1 victory.

Speaking to the official site of the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO), Pliatsikas spoke of the personal significance of his call-up: “It is a massive honour to be included in the senior national-team for the upcoming qualifiers. I know that there is a superb climate within the team and that they function impeccably.

“I would like to thank Otto Rehhagel, who called me up to the squad for the first World Cup Qualifiers. I still have a strong motive to work harder and justify the manager’s selection.”

Chris Paraskevas

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