Tata Martino praises Arsenal youngster Marcelo Flores

Mexican national team head coach Gerardo Martino hails Marcelo Flores after first official appearance.
Mexican national team head coach Gerardo Martino hails Marcelo Flores after first official appearance. / Manuel Guadarrama/GettyImages

Mexico defeated Suriname 3-0 on Saturday night at Nuevo Corona Stadium in Concacaf Nations League action as goals from Israel Reyes, Henry Martin and Erick Sanchez secured the victory for El Tri.

Head coach Gerardo 'Tata' Martino made several changes to the starting lineup after dismissing 16 veteran players from the roster, giving fresh faces like Diego Lainez, Santiago Gimenez and Julian Araujo a chance to prove themselves.

Arsenal youngster Marcelo Flores also featured, coming on in the 81st minute. As the 18-year old warmed up on the sidelines to make his first official appearance for the senior team, chants of "Marcelo" echoed throughout the Torreon stadium.

The player made an immediate impact, manipulating Suriname’s defense to create opportunities. But his dream quickly turned into a nightmare. After playing the ball to Gimenez, the striker was brought down inside the box and subsequently awarded a penalty. Marcelo Flores stepped up to the spot, and missed.

While Flores couldn’t mark the occasion with his first international goal, Gerardo Martino hailed the player post match.

"Marcelo is everything a coach expects, that the player has those desires to assert his dribbling, he does what we all expect of him, he executes the 'one on one', which is one of the best qualities and the penalty is anecdotal," he said

"It's fine…We had Santi, Chávez and Orbelín, Santi decided to give it to him and the boy is in the dressing room crying inconsolably, and it's sad because this career has many disappointments, but everything that happened is well, everything is experience and everything is knowledge; Marcelo is something different, he needs peace of mind and hopefully they can give it to him."

But this is just the start for Marcelo on his journey with El Tri since committing to the Mexican team over Canada and England. The player will likely get an opportunity to take the field once again in merely two days as the Mexican national team prepares to face Jamaica in their second Nations League match of the June international window.