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The accomplished midfielder sees significant similarities between Sanchez and the Universidad de Chile talent, and is under no doubt that Vargas can rise to the challenge

Udinese and Chile star Mauricio Isla has bet on Eduardo Vargas to fill the gap in the team left by the injured Alexis Sanchez, while warning that his nation will have to battle hard to take down Argentina and Lionel Messi.

The midfielder arrived in Santiago on Monday to begin preparations with Claudio Borghi's side, who face their South American neighbours in a World Cup qualifying clash on Friday evening. Former club team-mate Sanchez is a notable absentee for Chile, the Barcelona talent having torn a hamstring which ruled him out of international duty.

According to Isla, however, Universidad de Chile prospect Vargas has all the tools necessary to assume the mantle of the former Colo Colo and River Plate wonderkid.

"I got to know [Vargas] well when he played against Spain and he is a very humble kid who inspires confidence, because he can do a lot of things," he told Triunfo shortly after landing.

"I trust Vargas because he has already been with us, he plays a very similar game to Alexis, he played great against Spain and I think in the U [Universidad de Chile] he is doing the same."

Both Argentina and Chile made the quarter-final stages of the Copa America in July, but Isla was under no illusions when asked about the challenge the two-time World Cup winners pose at Estadio Monumental.

"A lot has been said about Argentina not finding the playing style they seek, but the best player in the world is in that team: Lionel Messi," he admitted.

Chile will travel to Buenos Aires to play on October 7, before hosting Peru in Santiago four days later.