MEXICO CITY – Goalkeeper Raul Gudiño, who has been called up for Mexico’s home friendlies this month against Costa Rica and Chile, said he was excited about the possibility of lining up across the field from Real Madrid superstar Keylor Navas.
“It’s motivating to have him as a role model. It’ll be awesome to see him, with all he’s done and achieved. Keylor is clearly a person who works hard, who’s focused in every training and gives his all in every game,” the player for Liga MX club Guadalajara said in a press conference about the Costa Rican international.
The 22-year-old first-time call-up is one of the promising young stars Mexican soccer is counting on for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“I was in the youth ranks of the national team. I know what it is to wear the jersey, and I’m going to battle to win a place,” said Gudiño, who is seen as a possible successor to 2014 and 2018 World Cup first-string goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
Mexico, whose current roster features a mixture of established stars and young players such as Gudiño and midfielders Roberto Alvarado, 20, and Jonathan Gonzalez, 19, began on Monday its preparations for an Oct. 11 friendly against Costa Rica.
Two other individuals who have been called up before but have fewer than 10 national-team caps apiece talked about the new wave of talent joining the squad.
“A group of new players are coming, backed by people with experience. In my case, I set myself the challenge of being called up, and now I need to keep showing what I can do,” said 25-year-old Henry Martin, a forward for Mexican-league club America.
Isaac Brizuela, a 28-year-old midfielder who is a teammate of Gudiño’s at Guadalajara, said a lot of young players are looking to have an impact on the national squad and are motivated to perform well against Costa Rica in San Nicolas de los Garza and also against Chile on Oct. 16 in Queretaro.