NACHO SCOCCO hopes he can be a dark horse for the Argentina World Cup squad by returning to the goalscoring form he showed at former club Newell’s Old Boys.
A fortnight after sealing his £4million move to the Stadium of Light, Scocco made his Sunderland debut in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Southampton, as the Black Cats secured an FA Cup quarter-final away to Gus Poyet’s old club Brighton or Steve Bruce’s Hull.
Scocco is still working his way back to full fitness after only just beginning his pre-season with Brazilian outfit Internacional, following an unhappy six-month spell with the South American outfit.
But the 28-year-old wants his move to the Premier League to provide the springboard to rediscover his touch in front of goal after netting 24 times in 33 appearances last season for Argentine outfit Newell’s.
And if Scocco can prove to be a success on Wearside, he hopes it will catch the eye of Argentina boss Alejandro Sabella in time for the summer’s World Cup after winning his only international cap in 2012.
That will not be easy though, with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuan and PSG’s Ezequiel Lavezzi all at Sabella’s disposal.
Scocco told the Echo: “I will work hard to get back to how I played in Argentina and reach the same level from Newell’s.
“I know I have to work a lot to get that.”
I feel good. I want to help the team, but I’ve had two months without a game.
“It was important that I played 70 minutes against Southampton.”
He added: “It’s difficult to play in the national team, because there are many players at the top level.
“But I will try to work every week and every game to try to get there.
“The World Cup is always on the mind of every player. But I know it will be difficult.
“I think playing in the Premier League will help though.”
Scocco was linked with a move to Sunderland during the summer, although he insists “nothing” came of the speculation.
But when Sunderland did make a concrete approach in the January transfer window, Scocco was forced to bide his time before the Black Cats finalised a deal 36 hours before the deadline.
“It was difficult last month because I was waiting to see what would happen with me,” he said.
“I talked with Gustavo and talked with my manager in Brazil, to see if I could come to Sunderland.
“Now I’m here and I want to play now.”
Scocco was one of nine changes to the Sunderland starting line-up, as Black Cats boss Poyet handed his fringe players an opportunity.
And the forward now hopes to force his way into Sunderland’s first-choice XI, particularly with the Capital One Cup final now less than a fortnight away.
“It was an important victory for us because we were working towards it during the week and to continue in the cup,” added Scocco.
“I will try to play at Wembley and work for this chance.
“We have a lot of good players here, but I will give everything to play in this game.”