JONAS Gutierrez is back in the Argentina fold – but the hard part will be staying there.
And Gutierrez knows his form for Newcastle United will determine his international future.
The winger was named in new coach Alejandro Sabella’s first squad for this month’s friendlies against Venezuela and Nigera after a year-long exile.
Sabella brought Gutierrez in from the cold, the 28-year old having not featured since last summer’s World Cup finals.
And Gutierrez came off the bench in the second of the two games in Bangladesh last week.
However, if Gutierrez is to stay in the squad, he needs to maintain his form for Newcastle, who are fourth in the Premier League after taking eight points from their four opening games.
“For Argentinian players, the national team is very important,” Gutierrez said.
“To be play with your country is something really exciting.
“It was the new manager’s first squad, and to be involved in that was really important for me.
“I want to be in the next squad as well, so I have to work hard and do my best for my club if I’m to be involved again.”
Gutierrez and his Newcastle team-mates travel to eighth-placed Aston Villa on Saturday.
And staying unbeaten is the aim, according to Gutierrez, who has started all of United’s league games this season.
“The next game is Aston Villa, and they have a lot of new players,” added Gutierrez.
“We have to get a good result. If we can’t win, we have to take a point.
“We are always together – the team spirit is good here. We have welcomed the new players and they’re really good with the group.
“They are playing really well and we have good competition in all the places.”
Newcastle were held to a goalless draw by Queens Park Rangers on Monday night.
Little was seen from United as an attacking force at Loftus Road, though Gutierrez was heartened by the resilience on show.
“I think it was a good point away from home,” he said.
“It was a small pitch and they tried to press high up the pitch and not let us play the ball.
“We did the right things, but we want to do them better, of course. This is the Premier League and all the games are tough and hard.
“You don’t have easy games, so to have eight points after four games is really good.
“We don’t have do to anything different, we just have to improve and do things better.”