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MOSCOW, RUSSIA - Saturday, June 16, 2018: Argentina's Javier Mascherano lines-up before the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Group D match between Argentina and Iceland at the Spartak Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Javier Mascherano in managerial U-turn after ‘resigning’ before U20 World Cup

After retiring as a player in 2020, former Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano has begun his managerial career with Argentina under-20s.

Mascherano spent three-and-a-half years with the Reds between 2007 and 2010, before moving to Barcelona and then, following spells with Hebei China Fortune and Estudiantes, calling it a day.

Still only 38, the world-class midfielder began life as a coach soon after retiring, as part of the Argentina setup, before taking the U20s job in 2021.

After overseeing seven wins from his first nine friendlies, though, there has been disappointment over the past six months.

First, Argentina failed to progress beyond their group in the 2022 South American Games, before also exiting at the group stage in the South American U20 Championship in January.

Mascherano’s squad lost to Paraguay, Brazil and Colombia, thus failing to qualify for the U20 World Cup.

After the tournament, it was reported by ESPN that Mascherano had tendered his resignation, though sources in Argentina held out hope that he would remain in his role.

He now looks to have pulled a U-turn on any plans, with Argentina awarded hosting rights for the U20 World Cup after Indonesia were removed as hosts.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, November 18, 2014: Argentina's Javier Mascherano in action against Portugal during the International Friendly match at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Argentine FA confirmed on Tuesday that Mascherano is still manager of their U20s, with Diario Jornado reporting that he had already submitted his preliminary squad for the tournament.

That squad, which will be cut to 23, includes Man United‘s Alejandro Garnacho, Brighton‘s Facundo Buonanotte and Man City‘s Maximo Perrone.

The U20 World Cup begins in May, with the draw for the group stage yet to take place, though Argentina know they will be in Group A as hosts.

Mascherano is not set to be the only former Liverpool player in charge of a team at the tournament, with Bernard Diomede currently manager of the France under-20s.

England will take part, with manager Ian Foster calling up Reds youngsters Harvey Davies, Jarell Quansah and Dominic Corness to his latest squad.