Layun returns as Mexico announces squad for Argentina friendlies

Miguel Layun Mexico
Clive Rose
The veteran defender is on the list for El Tri for the first time since the World Cup, though many others who played in Russia are still yet to return

Miguel Layun is back on the Mexico national team, the latest World Cup veteran to make his way back to El Tri after taking time away from the national team following the 2018 tournament in Russia.

The versatile defender is one of eight players based in Europe who are on interim manager Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti's list for a pair of friendly matches against Argentina in the November window. El Tri will face La Albiceleste on Nov. 16 in Cordoba and Nov. 20 in Mendoza.

Rumors ahead of the call-up indicated other World Cup veterans would join Layun in making their return. While star PSV winger Hirving Lozano and Wolves forward Raul Jimenez were in Russia and also took part in matches during the September and October FIFA dates, other players like Layun, Real Betis midfielder Andres Guardado, Porto's Hector Herrera and West Ham United forward Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez either have not been called or have requested to stay with their clubs. Porto winger Jesus "Tecatito" Corona played in October but is not part of this month's roster.

Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who started every match of the 2018 World Cup, returns to the national team for this month's matches after playing with El Tri in September but staying with Standard Liege during the October window.

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Center backs Nestor Araujo and Diego Reyes, Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Marco Fabian and Lozano's PSV teammate Erick Gutierrez make up the rest of the European-based players. They'll fly directly from Europe to Argentina for the contests.

The rest of the squad is comprised of players in Liga MX, including many of the young talents Ferretti is hoping to push to the next level. Santos Laguna's 20-year-old defenders Jesus Angulo and Gerardo Arteaga are included after standing out in previous matches for Ferretti, as is Pachuca's 23-year-old midfielder Victor Guzman who is coming off a weekend in which he scored four goals against Necaxa. Despite a lack of playing time at the club level, America defender Edson Alvarez also is recalled as is Cruz Azul standout Roberto Alvarado. Alvarez recently celebrated his 21st birthday, while Alvarado is 20.

Diego Lainez, one of Mexico's most promising young players, is currently with the Mexico U-20 team in the Concacaf Championship and was not eligible to be called in this window.

There are more experienced members of the team in the group as well. Cruz Azul's veteran goalkeeper Jesus Corona is back for the first time since the World Cup with forward Alan Pulido in the team again after missing out last month.

The domestic-based players will congregate in Mexico City on Sunday, Nov. 11 before flying directly to Cordoba the next morning. The team will stay in Cordoba until the day after the match there before flying to Mendoza.

Full roster:

Goalkeepers: Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Hugo Gonzalez (Necaxa), Guillermo Ochoa (Standard Liege)

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Defenders: Edson Alvarez (America), Jesus Angulo (Santos Laguna), Gerardo Arteaga (Santos Laguna), Nestor Araujo (Celta de Vigo), Diego Reyes (Fenerbahce), Miguel Layun (Villarreal)

Midfielders: Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey), Luis "Chaka" Rodriguez (Tigres), Javier Guemez (Queretaro), Erick Aguirre (Pachuca), Victor Guzman (Pachuca), Jesus Duenas (Pachuca), Isaac Brizuela (Chivas), Erick Gutierrez (PSV), Javier Aquino (Tigres), Roberto Alvarado (Cruz Azul), Marco Fabian (Eintracht Frankfurt), Hirving Lozano (PSV)

Forwards: Henry Martin (Club America), Alan Pulido (Chivas), Angel Zaldivar (Chivas), Raul Jimenez (Wolves)