World News

Tata Martino cites Diego Lainez as reason for roster revamp

Lizzy Becherano
Gerardo Martino explains why he calls up players who don't see much time in Europe.
Gerardo Martino explains why he calls up players who don't see much time in Europe. / Jam Media/GettyImages

The Mexican national team concluded the June international window with a 1-1 draw against Jamaica on Tuesday in the second match of their 2022/2023 Concacaf National League campaign. 

El Tri saw a five-game run, playing three friendlies and two Concacaf Nations League matches. Head coach Gerardo Martino originally named a 38-player roster to test out formations against Nigeria, Uruguay and Ecuador, before releasing 16 veterans to give new faces an opportunity to secure their ticket to Qatar. 

Martino revealed he chose to revamp the roster in a bid to give minutes to figures who aren’t playing at their clubs, citing Diego Lainez’s case as the example.

Though the Real Betis winger has contributed very little to the European club lately, Tata explained he wanted to test his abilities with the national team to give him a fair chance at Qatar. 

"Diego is the answer to why we summon players who don't play and see what he does in a little while," asserted Martino. 

"The Luis Chávez thing seemed to me something very interesting and hopeful, I think that Kevin (Álvarez) was a little shy in the first half, it also happened to Uriel (Antuna) and I tell them to get out of Liga MX because in the international arena they whistle very small plays, in the second half it seems to me that he plays a very good game," he added.

Tata also explained players on the national team will not be penalized for choosing to take risks in moving to Europe, where they might not see much time on the pitch. 

"I like that the fight that is given in Europe, at the risk of staying out of a World Cup, and I can't just think about the World Cup and personal interests, I have to think about their future, it seems excellent to me that they give the fight in Europe as much as they can," he commented.

“Something that we spoke with Diego about two years ago is that he try to play, luckily I had a very close talk with Diego, he constantly tells me the options that appear, issues that he likes and others not so much, I think it will be a semester different for him by the number of minutes.”

With five months to go until the international tournament, it seems the Mexican national team is set for the most part. Tata Martino will count on veterans like Hirving Lozano, Andres Guardado and Hector Herrera to take the lead, but there are still a few spots left on the 26-player roster for players to fight for.