The emergence of a bright, young star is always one of the highlights of any World Cup. Over the years we’ve had Michael Owen in 1998, Thomas Muller in 2010, and even Pele back in 1958 all announce themselves at the footballing world’s most illustrious event.
This year, one talent that many will be keeping an eye on is Mexico’s Hirving Lozano. Coming off the back of his most successful club season to-date, 17 goals in 29 league games, as PSV secured the Eredivisie title, Lozano will be making his presence felt as Mexico line up against Germany, Sweden and South Korea in group F.
Lozano is a 5ft 10in stick of dynamite. He’s just as likely to explode in your back pocket as he is to put a hole in the opposition defence. He is a classic inverted winger, taking the ball on the left before cutting in and firing a torpedo into the top corner. He will drop a shoulder and leave you standing with his frightening turn of pace, but Lozano’s career so far has been littered with temperamental flashpoints. He has been sent of twice already in his one year with PSV, a rare feat for a forward. His short fuse sees him react to defenders with little provocation, earning him a comparison to Luis Suarez during his younger days.
Nicknamed Chucky, the terrifying doll from the Child’s Play horror movies, for his wild smile, Lozano has become a vital component for Mexico since making debut against Senegal in 2016. Despite his early discrepancies, there his absolutely no doubting the talent the 22-year-old possesses. He already has an impressive seven goals in 26 caps and his link up play with West Ham’s Javier Hernandez will be vital if El Tri are to challenge Sweden and South Korea for second spot behind Germany.
Mexico have progressed through the groups in their last six World Cups but, in every one of those, have fallen at the next hurdle. Lozano will be looking to break that trend for his own benefit, let alone that of his nation. Everton FC recently appointed Marcel Brands, the man who brought Lozano to Europe, as Director of Football and Lozano is rumoured to be one of the Toffees’ main targets for the summer window.
Brazil have Neymar, Argentina have Messi and Portugal have Ronaldo. If Lozano hits the heights in Russia this summer, Mexico might just have their own talisman to fire them to success.