Argentina 1986 World Cup winning goalkeeper Luis Islas has backed uncapped River Plate keeper Franco Armani to start ahead of Manchester United’s Sergio Romero at this year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Romero has been a regular for Argentina since getting his first call-up in 2009, winning 92 caps – 36 more than any other Argentinian keeper.
The 31-year-old has, however, failed to make a single league appearance for United this season. He has made just six over the last three campaigns.
On his part, Armani, also 31, who rejected the opportunity to pursue an international future with Colombia to fight for a place in Argentina’s Russia 2018 squad, has conceded just one goal in his last eight outings since joining River Plate in January.
“I would take him (Armani) to the World Cup,” Islas who was a 20-year-old deputy to Nery Pumpido at Mexico 1986 told TyC Sports as monitored by FIFA.com.
“We’re not talking about an 18-year-old kid.
“This is someone who maintains his form round after round and is playing for an important club like River. If I was the coach I would take him, no doubt about it, but you have to be respectful of the coach, who is Jorge Sampaoli.
“A goalkeeper is far more reliable when he plays [regularly]. It evidently hasn’t hurt ‘Chiquito’ [Romero] much, but I prefer a goalkeeper who plays.”
Islas, who was in goal when Argentina came from a goal down to beat Nigeria 2-1 in the group stage of the USA 1994 World Cup, added: “Given his current form, Armani has to start against Iceland. That said, you would have to give it deep thought because you don’t know how he’d respond to being in goal for the national team.”
Argentina are in Group D with Nigeria, Croatia and debutants Iceland at this year’s World Cup.