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Higuain out as Aguero returns for Argentina in key World Cup qualifiers

19:23 GMT+3 11/08/2017
GonzaloHiguain - cropped
Mauro Icardi receives his first competitive call-up for almost four years at the expense of the Juve man, who has been left out in the cold

Gonzalo Higuain has been left out of Argentina's squad for their crunch World Cup qualifier against Uruguay and Venezuela but there is a recall for Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero.

Jorge Sampaoli will lead Argentina in competitive action for the first time after the former Chile and Sevilla coach took charge for June friendlies against Brazil and Singapore.

On that occasion Aguero was omitted despite a fine run of form in the Premier League towards the end of last season.

This time around, Juventus star Higuain finds himself as the odd man out among Argentina's vast array of attacking riches as Inter captain Mauro Icardi retains his place.

It is the first time Icardi has been included in a competitive Argentina squad since November 2013, when he made his debut in a World Cup qualifier against Uruguay with a place at Brazil 2014 already assured.

Aguero's club colleague Nicolas Otamendi is one of only five specialist defenders named by Sampaoli, along with Nicolas Pareja – the 33-year-old Sevilla centre-back who will hope to add to the solitary senior international cap he won in 2010.

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That number will be bolstered later by call-ups from the local Primera Division, with the likes of River duo Jonathan Maidana and Javier Pinola and Independiente full-back Nicolas Tagliafico among those likely to be included.

Sporting CP's Marcos Acuna and Benfica's Eduardo Salvio come in to bolster Sampaoli's options in midfield, where Lucas Biglia has been named but is unlikely to feature after AC Milan ruled their new signing out for four weeks with a thigh injury.

Argentina currently lie fifth in the CONMEBOL qualifying section, occupying the inter-confederation play-off spot with four matches remaining.

A 2-0 defeat in Bolivia last time out cause Sampaoli's predecessor Edgardo Bauza his job.

Argentina squad in full: 

Goalkeepers: Nahuel Guzman (Tigres), Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Geronimo Rulli (Real Sociedad).

Defenders: Federico Fazio (Roma), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Nicolas Pareja (Sevilla).

Midfielders: Marcos Acuna (Sporting CP), Ever Banega (Sevilla), Lucas Biglia (AC Milan), Angel Di Maria (PSG), Augusto Fernandez (Atletico Madrid), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham United), Leandro Paredes (Zenit), Guido Pizarro (Sevilla), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica).

Forwards: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Joaquin Correa (Sevilla), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Mauco Icardi (Inter), Lionel Messi (Barcelona).