Marcelo Flores made his competitive debut for Mexico in the early hours of Sunday morning, facing Suriname in the CONCACAF Nations League.
Arsenal’s Marcelo Flores had already made his debut for Mexico in a couple of friendly matches against Chile and Guatemala over the last seven months, but he had the chance to feature in competitive action against Suriname on Sunday.
Coming off the bench for the final 10 minutes or so, Flores featured as Mexico extended their lead to end the game 3-0 victors.
Just minutes after coming on, Flores had the chance to score his first international goal. The youngster played an expert through-ball to put a teammate in on goal, who was brought down for a penalty. Unfortunately, Flores’ spot-kick was well saved.
Though that put a negative tinge on the night, Arsenal fans know all too well that missing a penalty internationally isn’t an indicator of how your season will go.
As mentioned, Mexico went on to score another goal and win the match comfortably anyway. They now sit one point off group leaders Jamaica with a game in hand, and they face Jamaica on Wednesday at 01:00 BST.
Speaking before the Suriname game, Mexico boss Tata Martino said Flores’ presence with the squad is about more than just gametime.
“He will surely complete minutes in these two games that we are going to have, but Marcelo can grow up next to the best football players that Mexico has, and for a boy of 17 or 18 years old that is a momentous decision,” Martino said.
“He recently made the decision to represent Mexico and now what he is doing is living alongside future teammates; the great figures that perhaps in a short time will not be there anymore.
“Training alongside Héctor Moreno, Héctor Herrera, Guillermo Ochoa, and that’s fantastic for him.
“What is most useful for Marcelo being here is that he knows what it is to be a national team. Then he has to build a career at an individual level to be considered in the future, but it helps him a lot to know what it is to be a national team.”
After completing his international duties next Wednesday, Flores had the option of joining up with Mexico u20s for their u20 World Cup qualifiers.
However, u20 boss Luis Perez has already confirmed that the youngster will be linking up with Arsenal for pre-season instead.