Source AP ©

Colombian national team manager wants Juan Pablo Angel to take part in South American World Cup qualifying matches

Colombian national team manager Jorge Luis Pinto may recall Juan Pablo Angel for matches in South American World Cup qualifying.

Angel on Saturday scored a club record 17th goal in 21 games with the Red Bulls, breaking the single season mark of Adolfo Valencia in 2000, a performance which Pinto says has caught his attention.

Angel, who played for his hometown club of Nacional of Medellin before moving to River Plate in Argentina and then Aston Villa, was relegated to bench earlier this year in England. His transfer to the United States has revitalized his career.

"Juan Pablo does not figure into our immediate plans, but yes, in the foreseeable future," said Pinto, who left the striker off his preliminary roster of 50 players for Colombia's qualifying debut Oct. 14 at home against Brazil, and three days later away versus Bolivia.

The Red Bulls have three more games in the Major League Soccer season before a possible playoff berth.

The earliest Angel could see action for the rebuilding Colombian side would be its November match against Argentina.

"He has been improving, and has a great competitive spirit that he lacked in England. I have friends who inform me of his performance and I see the U.S. games from time to time," Pinto said.

Colombia's first-round exit at the Copa America in July nearly cost Pinto his job, and increased pressure on the coach to reconsider several veterans like Angel, who were not originally in his plans.

Colombia is trying to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1998.

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