Marcelo Flores made his second senior appearance for the Mexican National Team on Thursday morning, featuring as a substitute.
Facing Guatemala on Wednesday night local time (or Thursday morning at 1:30am back in the UK), Marcelo Flores made a second-half substitute appearance for Mexico.
The appearance was Flores’ second for his senior national team, after he made his international debut in a friendly match against Chile in December.
Fans of the national team were a little disappointed not to see Flores earlier in the match this week, as he only featured for the final 30 minutes against Guatemala. But it’s probably a good thing they’re taking things step by step.
The danger with Flores is that the fans are starting to expect too much too soon.
Flores is almost a trending topic every time Mexico play a game, and I can say from my personal experience on Twitter that many followers of the Mexican National Team now tune in to Arsenal u23 games just to track his progress.
What that leads to is what we saw after the Guatemala friendly.
By the majority of accounts, Flores put in a solid performance. Yet ESPN stuck him in their match headline saying he “has more to prove” after a “timid” display. You’d hope so, he’s 18.
One writer for The Athletic highlighted that he’d completed “just one dribble” in the appearance, as if that’s bad. Only three players in the Premier League have completed more than three dribbles per 90 minutes this season, so one in 30 is actually pretty good.
There were plenty more comments like those on social media on Thursday morning.
For a teenager playing 30 minutes for a senior national team before he’s even made a senior club appearance, it shouldn’t even be noteworthy that he’s not immediately stepping onto the pitch as the reincarnation of Lionel Messi.
But the hype train has brought us here. We should be celebrating a positive milestone, the first time Flores has spent half an hour on the pitch for Mexico. That’s progress in itself.
Instead, we’re reading critics of his performance as if he’s an established pro. It’s just another hurdle the Arsenal youngster is going to have to overcome as he continues his development.