Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio (pictured) answers questions from the press on January 11, 2016, in Miami. (Photo: Mexsport)
MIAMI -- Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio hopes to give youth a taste of international football on February 10, when his team faces off against Senegal in a friendly at Marlins Park.
The 53-year-old Colombian made the assertion at the same venue Monday during a press conference to promote the game.
“We want to give an opportunity to Mexican league players,” said Osorio. “In the last call-up, there were 13 playing in Mexico. Now, we can fill it with more youngsters, so that they know we value them and are taking them into account, such as Erick Gutierrez, Hirving Lozano, Rodolfo Pizarro and other young players that we are observing. They are surely going to have the opportunity for better integration and know what type of people they are.”
Lozano, in particular, had a notable 2015. He led the Tricolor to the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship title and earned the tournament’s Golden Ball award. With Pachuca, the 20-year-old forward scored four goals in 17 Liga MX Apertura games.
In addition to recognizing the development of domestic-based players, the former Sao Paulo manager made a point to praise those Mexicans competing abroad.
“We consider that Mexico should feel very proud of the representation that the players are having in Europe,” he commented. “To me it would be unjust to highlight one in particular, but it is impossible not to admire the campaign that Javier [Hernandez] is having.
“But I think equally the rest of the boys are having a great season and everyone is winning a spot on their respective teams. They have fulfilled everything we had hoped for. Hopefully, they maintain that level and that the Mexican League continues producing players because there are many who have the talent to play abroad.”
Hernandez has been in outstanding form since joining Bayer Leverkusen from Manchester United in the summer, netting 19 goals in 22 competitive outings for the German power.
The Mexicans are using the Senegal match to prepare for a pair of World Cup qualifiers against Canada in March.