Erick Gutierrez is set to be headed to the World Cup for the second time with the Mexican national team in November.
The PSV Eindhoven midfielder famously made Mexico’s 2018 World Cup roster as a last minute addition, replacing an injured Diego Reyes. Gutierrez was not originally included in Juan Carlos Osorio’s 23-player list, but traveled to Russia as part of the larger squad to train with the team and stand in case of emergencies.
Days before kick off, Reyes was ruled out with a right leg injury, paving the way for Gutierrez to step in. Despite the achievement, the midfielder saw no time on the pitch.
Now, he’s back.
“Everyone knows the way I went to Russia, because of an injury, and I enjoyed it even though I didn’t see minutes on the pitch. But now, I hope to have time on the pitch, to be important for the Mexican national team. That would mean a lot to me. Getting to Qatar in this way, if everything goes well, I would be very happy,” he said exclusively to 90min.
Four years later, Gutierrez has become an integral part of the Mexican National team. He played a key role in El Tri’s World Cup qualifying campaign, and continues to make the roster. But the battle for that starting position in the midfield still stands. With Edson Alvarez set to take on the role of defensive midfielder, it leaves Gutierrez fighting against Andres Guardado and Luis Chavez for the slot on the left.
The PSV player understands the competition, igniting determination.
“I haven’t seen as much time on the pitch this season [with PSV] as I would like, like the past campaign, but the best come to the national team. Everyone who’s here plays in their clubs, so sometimes I get to play and sometimes I don’t, but I always remain positive. But I want to be more important and have better performances. Sometimes I feel I didn’t have them because of past injuries, but now I feel good physically, so I have great desires.”
El Tri still has two friendlies scheduled ahead of the World Cup in November, facing Iraq and Sweden in Spain as preparation. The team will then play against Argentina, Saudi Arabia and Poland in the tournament’s Group C.