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Masch accepts Argentine armband

Liverpool midfielder to captain his country

Last Updated: 10/11/08 8:37pm

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Mascherano: International honour

Mascherano: International honour

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Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano has agreed to become Argentina's captain, despite initial reservations over Diego Maradona's offer.

Upon his appointment as coach of the national side, Maradona toured several European countries last week to meet several of his leading players - including the likes of Mascherano and Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez.

Argentina's form in World Cup qualifying has been patchy at best and Maradona has been quick to assess those at his disposal. One of his first decisions has been to hand Mascherano the captain's armband from current skipper Javier Zanetti.

Mascherano was slow to take up the offer after conceding he had doubts over whether he was ready for the role, but it does now look as though Maradona has proved convincing.

"I've convinced him," Maradona told Radio La Red. "I explained to him what I thought about him and told him what I thought he could give the team.

"He can transmit much of what he does in the centre of the pitch - we're not asking him to be a leader immediately."

Home comforts

In news closer to home, Mascherano has warned his team-mates that winning games at home is key to mounting a serious title bid.

Liverpool kept up a fine record at the weekend when they proved to be too good for Premier League new boys West Brom and Mascherano has urged for continued ruthlessness at Anfield.

"I think we need to win as many home games as possible to say near the top of the league," he told the club's official website.

"So it is very good to get another home victory - it always feels good when you win at home.

"It was a good performance and we are really happy."

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