Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez has selected Luis Suarez for next month’s friendlies, but will the manager use the controversial striker?
Suarez is eligible to play in friendlies because his eight-match international ban only covers competitive matches. He’ll have to sit out the Copa America Centernario in addition some 2018 World Cup qualifying matches, but is eligible for selection in Uruguay’s October matches against Saudi Arabia and Oman.
The 27-year-old striker cannot play for Barcelona in a competitive match until Oct. 24, so it would make sense for both the player and his club to get some reps against two sides who would love to knock off Uruguay.
But will Tabarez select the striker? Uruguay won both its September friendlies against Japan and South Korea without Suarez, and the October opponents are far less threatening than the pair of World Cup squads.
With Abel Hernandez (Hull City), Christian Stuani and Edinson Cavani, Tabarez has players with experience to call on if needed, while youngsters Diego Rolan and Jonathan Rodriguez could certainly use time on the international pitch.
Ultimately, it’d be foolish to call up Suarez and not use him. There will be the “distraction” of his attendance, so he might as well have him add to his tally of 40 goals in 78 caps. Plus, it’s not like his team — let alone his country’s government — failed to support him after his biting of Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup started this disciplinary mess.