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By ESPN Staff
Nov 5, 2008

Mascherano coy on Argentina captaincy role

Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano has revealed he will talk to new national team coach Diego Maradona before taking a decision on becoming his country's next captain.

Maradona, 48, announced he "would convince" the Liverpool player to be his new skipper just hours after he was formally confirmed as Argentina coach on Tuesday, succeeding Alfio Basile who stood down on October 16.

Reports in the British press suggested Maradona would fly to England on Wednesday to speak to the 24-year-old midfielder about his plans ahead of his first game in charge on November 19 - a friendly with Scotland at Hampden Park.

However, while Mascherano welcomed the appointment of the new coach, he refused to get carried away about his chances of taking up the armband until those talks had taken place.

"For us he (Maradona) is a legend so it's good for us to have him as our coach," he said.

"I haven't spoken to Maradona about anything yet. Before he arrived we had a captain in (Javier) Zanetti, so I don't want to talk about this out of respect for him.

"But I have to have a meeting with Maradona and then we will talk."

Should Mascherano take up the role, he may well look to his club captain Steven Gerrard for inspiration.

The England international was Liverpool's saviour on Tuesday, as he kept his cool to net a 94th-minute penalty to earn his side a 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.

But Mascherano admitted he was unsure if he yet had what it takes to handle such pressure.

"Steven is a fantastic player, and it's good to be able to count on him," he said. "But I don't know if I would have taken that penalty!"

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