Jonas Gutierrez has stoked up the Tees-Tyne derby fires after stating Julio Arca is unlikely to join him in the Argentina squad anytime soon.
Newcastle travel to Middlesbrough on Saturday for the clash, which will see Gutierrez face Arca.
But while Gutierrez is a regular in the national set-up - Arca has been overlooked ever since moving to England in 2000.
"I know Julio, although I haven't talked to him for a few weeks now," said Gutierrez.
"He is a player I know fairly well because of his time in Argentina, and he's someone I've kept a little bit of an eye on since I've been in England.
"He has been linked with the Argentina international team over here, but that isn't really something that has been happening back in Argentina. It is very difficult to play in the national team for Argentina, especially if you are a midfielder.
"There are a lot of very high-quality players in the squad and Julio will have to work very, very hard if he wants to break into that team. He will have to prove he is better than one of the squad players that are already there, and that is going to be very difficult for him to do."
Gutierrez is looking forward to facing Boro and he hopes it will end better than his first experience of a local derby against Sunderland - when Newcastle lost.
"I am looking forward to playing in the derby game," said the winger.
"I was a substitute in the match against Sunderland, but hopefully I will be involved in this game from the start.
"I obviously don't come from England, but I have been here long enough to know about the importance of local rivalry in the North East. The supporters were very disappointed that we didn't beat Sunderland, but hopefully we can make it up to them a little bit by winning against Middlesbrough."