Club America defender Jorge Sanchez was pleased with his Mexico national team debut Tuesday and now is setting his sights on making Tata Martino's Gold Cup roster.
While he typically lines up at left back for Las Aguilas, Sanchez played all 90 minutes of El Tri's 4-2 victory over Paraguay as the right back and was pleased with his debut. The key to making the cut for the Concacaf championship, according to Sanchez, is playing well with America to continue drawing the manager's attention.
"We’ve got to do things well in our club to keep getting called in. Now, with the Gold Cup coming up, I have a really big dream to go, but you have to go on the same path and keep working and doing things well and the fruit will come with that," he said.
Playing in Mexico City could help with that. The 21-year-old was part of Martino's first 'microcycle' in which he called in local players to train for a few days at the start of the week before returning to their club teams to prepare for that weekend's match.
"It’s always good, whether it’s two or three days, it’s good to have those camps because you learn a lot in those days," Sanchez said. "We learned the confidence the manager has in us and also some of the tactical concepts you’re starting to see."
Fullback is not an area of depth for Mexico, with almost every player in the position having been converted from winger at one point. Monterrey's Jesus Gallardo and America's Edson Alvarez were the outside backs for most of the 2018 World Cup. While each are still involved in the national team, Martino is playing Alvarez as a central midfielder while Gallardo has stayed on the left side. Tigres right back Luis "Chaka" Rodriguez and Monterrey's Miguel Layun, who plays right back, left back or on the wings, also saw starts at the fullback position in the March friendly matches.
The Argentine coach requires a lot of his fullbacks, asking them to get forward often and create overloads on one side of the attack. While Sanchez committed an error that led to Paraguay's second goal, he feels the playing style being utilized suits his game well.
"He’s asking a lot us as fullbacks. For me, that’s really good for the outside backs to have the chance to get forward and also defend," he said. "Above all, we’ve worked on getting it out of the back in the past few days. We’ve seen a Mexican national team that’s really different from past versions."
Martino will make his decisions on who to take to the Gold Cup in May.
In addition to the America defender, Chivas forward Alexis Vega also made his national team debut Tuesday. In Friday's game against Chile, Monterrey midfielder Carlos Rodriguez saw his first-ever El Tri minutes.