2M208Y7 Doha, Qatar, 13th December 2022. Alexis Mac Allister of Argentina during the FIFA World Cup 2022 match at Lusail Stadium, Doha. Picture credit should read: David Klein / Sportimage

Alexis Mac Allister’s Argentina role laid out in final Copa America warmup win

Alexis Mac Allister‘s role in the Argentina midfield heading into Copa America was made clear in a 4-1 victory over Guatemala on the eve of the tournament.

Argentina head to Copa America among the favourites to win the tournament, arriving in the United States as world champions following their triumph at Qatar 2022.

Though manager Lionel Scaloni has refused to divulge his final squad list, Mac Allister is guaranteed to be included as a key player for his country.

That showed in a warmup friendly against Guatemala on Friday night, restored to the starting lineup after going unused in the previous 1-0 win over Ecuador.

He was joined in the middle of the park by Enzo Fernandez, with both expected to start against Canada in their Group A opener on June 21.

It wasn’t a perfect night for Argentina, who went behind after four minutes following Lisandro Martinez’s own goal, but it was certainly close for Scaloni’s side.

Lionel Messi struck twice in another standout display, with striker Lautaro Martinez also hitting a brace in a 4-1 victory.

With Argentina lining up in a system closer to a 4-4-2, Mac Allister partnered Fernandez in midfield with full debutant Valentin Carboni and Giovani Lo Celso on the wings.

Mac Allister was relied upon as the high-pressing presence in the middle of the park, denying Guatemala time on the ball with only 28 percent of possession.

In his 62 minutes on the pitch he won the ball consistently and kept possession moving with precision – per FotMob he misplaced just five of his 57 attempted passes, completing 91 percent.

DOHA, QATAR - Saturday, November 26, 2022: Argentina's Alexis Mac Allister during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Argentina and Mexico at the Lusail Stadium. Argentina won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was not his finest display, of course, but it showed the blend of hard work and technical quality that makes him so invaluable for club and country.

Argentine newspaper Ole rated Mac Allister’s performance a six out of 10, with journalist Diego Paulich writing: “More positional and less loose than Enzo, he had some inaccuracies at the beginning but improved as the minutes passed.”

TyC Sports‘ Gaston Recondo awarded him a seven out of 10, writing: “He was the team’s central midfielder, trying to press high to keep the team short and away from [Emi Martinez].

“He improved in terms of precision and impact on possession.”

DOHA, QATAR - Saturday, November 26, 2022: Argentina players sing the national anthem before the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Argentina and Mexico at the Lusail Stadium. Guido Rodríguez, Lisandro Martinez, Alexis Mac Allister. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Meanwhile, GOAL‘s Thomas Hindle argued that it was “not his most influential showing with the ball,” but added that the six-out-of-10 midfielder “got stuck in without it.”

It remains to be seen exactly how Argentina line up when they face Canada, Chile and Peru at Copa America, with both a 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 possible.

But Mac Allister will certainly play a prominent role for his country, as undoubtedly one of their most important players.