Former Liverpool and Barcelona star Javier Mascherano has been appointed coach of Argentina’s under-20 team, the South American country’s football federation said on Thursday.

The 37-year-old replaces Fernando Batista, who left the role last week to join the backroom staff of newly appointed Venezuela manager Jose Pekerman.

“The former captain of Argentina’s national team will assume the position in January 2022,” read a statement on the Argentine Football Association’s official website.

It added that Oscar Hernandez would be the under-20 team’s assistant coach and Pablo Blanco the physical trainer.

Mascherano retired in November last year after a 17-year playing career that included spells with River Plate, Corinthians, West Ham, Liverpool, Barcelona, Hebei China Fortune and Estudiantes.

He earned 147 Argentina caps and was a key member of the Albiceleste side that reached the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

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