Everyone welcome in Martino's 'big-tent' Mexico roster

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Carlos Ramirez
The former Barcelona manager called in almost 30 players for March's friendly matches as he looks to establish relationships with his new players

Come one, come all to see Tata Martino's first Mexico roster!

Martino announced his first-ever El Tri squad Tuesday and made it clear he will be leaving no stone unturned as he prepares for this summer's Gold Cup.

His team will need to be much more svelte for the continental championship, but Martino has called in 29 players for games against Chile and Paraguay.

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That's such a large group, you wonder if he's going to take a page out of previous Mexico interim manager Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti's book and send home many of his Europe-based players after the first game to give them more time with their clubs.

Even if he does not, it is a big-tent approach with a number of players called in at each position. We will definitely see a variety of players on display across both friendly matches.

It does not matter your background or your recent history, there is probably a place for you.

Out of favor player on a bench for a European team like PSV midfielder Erick Gutierrez? You are welcome here. Struggling for time with a mid-level La Liga team like center back Hector Moreno? Come on in. A veteran at a deep position experiencing a club resurgence like Leon midfielder Luis Montes? There is space for you too.

Martino clearly wants to get a look at as many players possible as he begins his Mexico career and is not going to discount anyone because of their club situation. You can understand that. This camp allows him to establish relationships with players who right now might not be key contributors to the national team but could be needed down the line. 

The only player fans reasonably would have expected to be on the roster that is not is Carlos Vela. His history of prioritizing his club situation over being in with the national team is well-known.

Carlos Vela 1 Mexico World Cup South Korea 06222018

It would not be a surprise to see the LAFC forward back in the group for the Gold Cup, joining up once the games really matter. We know he and Martino have enjoyed a cup of joe together at Starbucks and that the coach is not too concerned about players facing competition in MLS rather than Europe.

On the other hand, it would not be a shock if Vela has decided that aspect of his career is over. He has been to a pair of World Cups and could be content to stay in LA and pursue other interests during international breaks.

Hector Herrera is not in the group either, but it is because he does not want to be. The Porto midfielder is set to get an all-important European passport and is staying in Portugal to finalize all the details. He, too, can be expected to be a key contributor for El Tri this summer and beyond.

Otherwise, nearly everyone in the Mexico player pool is included. To be fair to Martino, he does not have many chances to get to know his new players before making his decisions on the Gold Cup roster. The former Atlanta United, Argentina and Barcelona manager has persuaded Mexican teams to allow him to bring players in for 'microcycles' and work with domestic-based players for two or three days on non-FIFA dates. 

Between those shortened camps and six days of work in San Diego before his Mexico debut, he is starting to get a good idea of how his players operate and what he will be able to do with the national team.

The Gold Cup nearly accommodates for a big roster like the one Martino has called with its wonky replacement rules allowing coaches to make sweeping changes after the group stage. The day will come for Martino to cut down the group to a core but for now, the all-inclusive approach is a luxury the manager can afford to take.

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