BUENOS AIRES, May 28 (Reuters) - Uncapped fullback Milton Casco of Newell’s Old Boys was named by coach Gerardo Martino in Argentina’s 23-man Copa America squad on Wednesday.
Casco, a quick, marauding left back, has been under surveillance for several months by Martino, under whom he won the Argentine league title with Newell’s in 2013.
Martino also included midfielder Ever Banega, who missed out on last year’s World Cup finals in Brazil, on the day he helped Sevilla win the Europa League with a 3-2 victory over Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the final in Warsaw.
Lionel Messi, who has been in brilliant form this year, will lead World Cup runners-up Argentina in their quest for a first major title since 1993.
Carlos Tevez, picked as expected after his return to the team late last year for the first time since Argentina’s quarter-final elimination in the 2011 tournament on home soil, will vie for the centre forward slot with Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.
“I almost have my ideal 11. I haven’t got my nine yet because there’s a fight (between three) that is settled day by day in the practices” Martino told the daily La Nacion in an interview published earlier on Wednesday.
Four of Martino’s squad will be late arrivals in Chile after Barcelona’s Messi and Javier Mascherano face Tevez and midfielder Roberto Pereyra in the European Champions League final in Berlin on June 6.
Argentina open their Group B campaign against Paraguay, the team Martino steered to the 2011 final in Buenos Aires, on June 13, two days after the tournament in Chile kicks off. They also face holders Uruguay and Jamaica.
Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Sampdoria), Nahuel Guzman (UANL Tigres), Mariano Andujar (Napoli)
Defenders: Facundo Roncaglia (Genoa), Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis (both Manchester City), Ezequiel Garay (Zenit St Petersburg), Nicolas Otamendi (Valencia), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Milton Casco (Newell’s Old Boys)
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Ever Banega (Sevilla), Roberto Pereyra (Juventus), Fernando Gago (Boca Juniors), Angel Di Maria (Manchester United), Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur), Javier Pastore (Paris Saint-Germain)
Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Carlos Tevez (Juventus), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris Saint-Germain) (Writing by Rex Gowar; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)