Mexico go to World Cup with only three recognised midfielders

Javier Aguirre has named his final squad for the World Cup and left out Barcelona’s Jonathan dos Santos, taking only three recognised midfielders in the 23-man party.

And now the father of dos Santos, who was thought to have done enough after a 90-minute display in the 5-1 win over Gambia, says his son will never play for Mexico again because of “how he has been treated”.

A whistle-stop three games in six days gave the manager much to ponder and his decision to leave out dos Santos means that of those travelling only Israel Castro, Andrés Guardado and Gerardo Torrado have a history of playing in the middle of the park.

While it’s true that Mexico possess a fluidity to their team, with wingers such as Carlos Vela and Giovani dos Santos, and defenders such as captain Rafael Marquez and Jonny Magallon, capable of playing in midfield, Aguirre’s decision means a lot rests on the above trio’s shoulders.

A record of six goals conceded in three pre-tournament friendlies – despite maintaining good possession in each – suggests there is much work to do defensively with protection from in front of the back line requiring attention.

Indeed, should an injury strike one of those midfield starters it could be an instant dilemma with Aguirre needing to shuffle his players round to plug the hole.

Will Aguirre’s bold decision be detrimental to the team’s balance? They are 4/6 to go out in the group stage.