Sunderland star Vergini spurred on by Argentina boost

Santiago Vergini
Santiago Vergini
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SANTIAGO Vergini has relished regaining his place in the Argentina set-up.

The Sunderland defender has won two caps for his country over the last month after lining up alongside global superstars Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria in the friendlies against Hong Kong and Croatia.

The appointment of new national team manager Gerardo Martino has been key to Vergini’s international recall - two years after the on-loan Club Sport Uruguay de Coronado man won his first Argentina call-up.

Martino previously worked with Vergini at Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys and the 26-year-old is delighted to have been handed his chance in the run-up to next summer’s Copa America.

Vergini told the Echo: “It’s always really great to be considered and get the call-up to wear your national team colours, particularly for an Argentine player.

“This is something really important for me - it’s a great feeling and makes me extremely happy.

“I’m very grateful for the coaching staff at Sunderland and the players for the way they’ve treated me and helped me.”

Aside from spectacular own goal at Southampton, Vergini has performed well in his second spell at the Stadium of Light after spending the second half of last season on loan with the Black Cats.

While he has looked more confident in his natural position of centre-half, Vergini has filled in competently at right-back in the absence of the injured Billy Jones.

Vergini helped Sunderland record a first clean sheet in almost two months at Leicester City on Saturday and he believes that was an important milestone.

“In the last few games, we haven’t been able to not concede,” he added.

“It was very important for the defence to have got that clean sheet.

“But I don’t think it’s just the defence that have to take the credit for that. It really is a collective effort.”

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