Martinez pleased for Di Santo

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez believes Franco di Santo will reap the benefits of being in the Argentina squad.

Last Updated: 14/11/12 at 07:53 Post Comment

Franco di Santo: Surprise Argentina call-up

Franco di Santo: Surprise Argentina call-up

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez believes Franco di Santo will reap the benefits of rubbing shoulders with Argentina's star-studded forward line.

The 23-year-old striker's impressive start to the season resulted in a surprise first call-up from his country a fortnight ago and he could make his international debut in Wednesday's friendly against Saudi Arabia at the King Fahd International Stadium.

It is all a far cry from the scoring droughts that have plagued the former Chelsea youngster in English football.

Having netted one goal during a 24-game loan spell with Blackburn in 2009/10, a solitary strike in 29 appearances followed for Di Santo after his move to Wigan that summer.

His scoring rate has picked up since but he is still far from prolific.

Now a virtually guaranteed starter as Latics' attacking lynchpin, Di Santo finds himself vying for the attentions of national coach Alejandro Sabella alongside Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero in a squad that the latter's Manchester City team-mate Carlos Tevez was once again excluded from.

"Franco di Santo is developing into a top footballer," said Martinez. "He's only 23 but he's come on a lot. Obviously being called up by Argentina and playing with the likes of Messi and Sergio Aguero is going to do him a lot of good.

"But we still know that he needs to carry on enjoying his football."

Although Martinez has complete faith in Di Santo's ability to perform effectively at the highest level, he admits to being both surprised and flattered that Sabella should look to the DW Stadium for attacking reinforcements.

"I could see it coming because I work with him every day," he said. "You get a bit biased because you know the player.

"I was a little bit surprised with the knowledge the national team coach Alejandro Sabella has shown because, to know a striker at Wigan Athletic, it shows you that they are incredibly professional in the way they follow their players.

"They've got strikers at Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona and to have a striker from Wigan Athletic with the options they've got... they've got strikers at top clubs around Europe.

"It's a real compliment to Wigan. The way we play probably attracts the interests of national team managers.

"We didn't do before and that's a real compliment. Franco deserves huge, huge credit for the achievement."

Although six goals so far in 2012 hardly compares with the record-breaking exploits of his most illustrious new international team-mate, Martinez is delighted with Di Santo's development and believes he has plenty more to offer.

"He can get a lot better," he added. "That's the natural development of a young player. We always believed in Franco - we paid big money for our limitations financially.

"We're just so glad that he's been able to develop into the player that he is today.

"We hope that he can enjoy the experience and come back to help us."


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

S

hould have stayed because we carried him for 6.5 years. And then he has a breakthrough season, and was gone soon after. MU fans, you would be as disgusted had C Ronaldo left in 2007 and not 2009.

godof86
Is Van Persie Slipping Sadly Into The Night?

G

ood grief. Someone guessed that the form English player at the moment might be in his national side with some other players? And that's espionage? Now if they discovered that Emile Heskey was going to be in the starting line up.... at right back.... THAT would be espionage. Give it a rest Roy.

RogerRedHat
Hodgson hits out at Kane leak

H

e may get away with if Liverpool can swap the video with one of Skrtel dancing or something, but if they review the one shown on TV he's screwed.

hump3.
Skrtel denies violent conduct

Footer 365

Italy 1-1 England: Andros Townsend equaliser keeps Roy Hodgson's side unbeaten this season

Substitute Andros Townsend rescued England's unbeaten post-World Cup record as his late goal in Turin earned a 1-1 draw.

Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Debuchy step up Arsenal comebacks

Jack Wilshere scored as he stepped up his comeback from injury against a Brentford XI at Arsenal's training ground on Tuesday.

England's Andros Townsend happy to silence critics with equaliser in Italy

Andros Townsend was delighted to repay Roy Hodgson's faith with the equalising goal as England drew in Italy on Tuesday.

Mail Box

Why Do Arsenal Have So Many 'Internet Warriors'?

The Mailbox has an open letter from Liverpool's Raheem Sterling, questions Phil Jones' bulldog spirit and asks: "Why do Arsenal have so many "internet warriors?"

It's All Just A Ruse By The 'Southern Press'...

A varied Tuesday morning Mailbox, with thoughts on the England U21s, a Sterling ruse, Kane realism, Wenger coaching youth and enjoying the charity match...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company