Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni believes Lautaro Martinez and Paulo Dybala are the future of the national team ahead of Wednesday’s friendly with Germany.
Scaloni confirmed his starting line-up for the international in Dortmund and named the pair to start up front in the absence of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and a host of players from River Plate and Bocas Juniors, who have been withdrawn due to Copa Libertadores commitments later this month.
The 41-year-old is looking to integrate fresh names into the team ahead of back-to-back Copa America’s and the start of 2022 World Cup qualifying next year.
In-form Martinez and Dybala both scored in Sunday’s top-of-the-table Derby D’Italia as Juventus defeated Inter 2-1, and Scaloni is excited to seeing the pair link-up for their country.
"I think they will be called up to the Argentina national team for many years and in this change and re-structuring, they are the ones who should hold the flag up high," Scaloni told reporters.
"They are good friends and more importantly the future of this shirt. Last Sunday’s game was very good and we hope they play well together.
"They [Germany] have great players that are out due to injury but we do as well and they are just as important as their players. It’s a challenge and many of them who will go out tomorrow will find out if they are capable of playing.
"I believe this is the last step in finalising our squad and seeing who we have.”
Argentina’s friendly with Germany is the first of two European-based friendlies for La Albiceleste with a fixture to come against Ecuador at the Elche’s Martinez Valero Stadium on Sunday.
Scaloni's side claimed an emphatic 4-0 win last time out against Mexico with Martinez claiming his first international hat-trick in the process.
"I am happy and excited," Martinez said post-match.
"There is a lot of sacrifice that one makes to be here and not every day three goals are made with this shirt. It is very difficult to get here and stay. There are very good players.
"I am very happy and grateful to my team-mates and the coaching staff. We train to give joy to the national team. Hopefully we continue along this path."