Jorge Sampaoli defends Mauro Zarate despite criticism from furious QPR striker

Chile Fan With Flag

Chile manager Jorge Sampaoli has defended Mauro Zarate amid a stunning outburst from QPR striker Eduardo Vargas.

Whilst Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia have stolen the limelight in attack, West Ham have also seen a number of promising displays from Mauro Zarate.

The former Lazio star joined the Hammers from Velez Sarsfield in May, and the 27-year-old has contributed two goals and one assist so far.

Zarate was part of the Argentina Under-20 side back in 2007, but has failed to win a cap for the senior side, leading him to explore other avenues on the international stage.

Earlier this season, Zarate confirmed that he would be switching his allegiance to play for Chile instead, who he qualifies to play for through his father - but not everyone was happy.

QPR striker Eduardo Vargas is a Chilean striker whose position is under threat because of Zarate's imminent introduction, and he told press that he - and some of the squad - are disgruntled. 

"The truth is that it is something that does not seem right," said Vargas. "The squad is very good Chilean players and we don't need to nationalise others to come and perform in our place. It is up to the coach, but the players are not happy with it.

"It's not a decision very well received by the dressing room but if the technician decides he is important and brings him to the team, welcome," he added.

With a home Copa America campaign on the horizon, Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli has now tried to calm the tension around Zarate's inclusion.

"I choose those who can play within the rules. The option is there and hopefully we can [call him up], depending on his performance. He has all the conditions to improve the group we have," said Sampaoli.

Zarate will now be competing with Vargas, Alexis Sanchez and fellow Argentine-turned-Chilean Leonardo Ulloa of Leicester for a spot in Chile's attack - despite some resistance to his allegiance switch.

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