Franco Di Santo backed to make impact with Argentina following first call-up

 

Roberto Martinez believes Wigan striker Franco Di Santo can prove to be a big player for Argentina after he received his first international call-up.

The 23-year-old, who has previously played for Argentina's under-20 side, was named in Alejandro Sabella's 23-man line-up for the friendly against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on November 14.

Di Santo will be in exulted company, with Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero the other three strikers, and Martinez is understandably proud of his player.

The Wigan boss said: "To get an Argentina cap is a huge achievement. We should never forget the players that he's going to have in that squad. For us it's a great feeling of pride. We're all very, very proud of what Franco has achieved.

"It's been a target of his and it's an incredible journey he's been on. He arrived here as a young man with great potential, now he's a proper footballer, a top player.

"You look at the squad and you've got players from Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester City and Wigan in that forward line, and that's a real compliment for everybody at the football club but especially Franco."

Di Santo joined the Latics in the summer of 2010 from Chelsea having never scored for the London side and having managed only a single goal in English football, on loan at Blackburn.

It took him until April 2011 to get off the mark for Wigan but last season he was the club's leading scorer, albeit only with seven goals, while he has begun this campaign in promising fashion.

Di Santo has already netted three times in the Barclays Premier League and has formed a good partnership with new recruit Arouna Kone.

Martinez said: "We always had a huge belief in Franco, we always saw his potential. The chairman made a massive investment in him and since then his application and his desire to fulfil his potential has been very important.

"Now I do feel he's reached a very good level but there's still a long way to go, and he knows that.

"We're all very excited about what the next level will bring because he's ready to be an important player in the Argentina squad and that's the next step for him."

Di Santo should return to the side for the Barclays Premier League trip to Tottenham on Saturday after being rested for Tuesday's Capital One Cup fourth-round clash against Bradford.

The Latics were big favourites against a team from the bottom tier of the Football League but they were knocked out on penalties after a goalless draw at the DW Stadium.

Martinez made nine changes to his side from last weekend's 2-1 win over West Ham, giving starts to the likes of Callum McManaman, Fraser Fyvie and Daniel Redmond.

And he feels the result was an acceptable price to pay for blooding young players at first-team level.

"It will have a very positive effect because the youngsters that were involved will learn from that" said the Spaniard.

"We scored eight goals in two games in the competition and were very clinical, and then we played against a team at home and we created more chances than the other two games together and for one reason or another we couldn't hit the back of the net.

"We didn't progress in the tie for the right reasons and I saw youngsters taking responsibility, showing very good things.

"If you cannot score from the opportunities we created, we wouldn't be able to win the competition, so you need to accept you need to get better and stronger as a squad.

"We need to develop our young talent and we need to do that more often and in a bigger number, and to do that we'll have to sacrifice some results."

PA

Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
Sport
Lewis Hamtilon and pole-sitter Nico Rosberg
SportShould F1's most aggressive driver curb his instincts in title decider?
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin