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World Cup One To Watch: Mexico’s 22-year-old winger Hirving Lozano

Hirving Lozano
Photo: Getty Images

Mexico

World Cup One To Watch: Mexico’s 22-year-old winger Hirving Lozano

The Mexico international will be a player to keep an eye out for in Russia.

PSV Eindhoven’s Hirving Lozano will be one of the first names on the team sheet when Mexico kick off their 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign against Germany.

‘Chucky’, a nickname given to the 22-year-old as a youth player when he would hide under the beds of team-mates before springing out to scare them, is set to terrify opposition defences in Russia with his blistering pace and dribbling ability.

Likely to be the next world-class star off the PSV production line, Lozano has proven his ability to adapt and thrive when pushed outside of his comfort zone – a trait that will be of great benefit to Juan Carlos Osorio’s Mexico side this summer.

To see who else features in The Boot Room’s World Cup Ones to Watch series, click here.

Who is he?

Scoring his first senior goal within the first five minutes of his senior debut for Pachuca, Lozano went on to win his first major title for the club in his maiden season, before winning the CONCACAF Champions League the following term, defeating fellow Mexican side Tigres in the final.

Lozano finished the season winning the Golden Boot as the Champions League’s top scorer with eight goals as well as the competition’s Best Young Player Award. His eye-catching performances were enough to earn him a European move, with Eredivisie outfit PSV paying out a modest £7.20 million for his signature.

With 19 strikes in 33 appearances across all competitions, he has settled instantly during his first season in Europe, seemingly becoming more confident and intelligent with every passing game. His contribution to PSV claiming the Dutch top flight title, finishing the season as the club’s top scorer, is a testament to his ability.

(Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

What is his international experience/record?

On the international scene, Lozano has helped Mexico’ss under-20 side win the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship in 2015, finishing the tournament as the joint top scorer and being named in the team of the tournament.

He has since taken this success to the senior team – for whom he already has seven goals and 26 caps – after earning his first call-up in February 2016 under Carlos Osorio, starting in a 2-0 friendly victory over fellow World Cup finalists Senegal.

The 22-year-old demonstrated his incredible talent with two goals in a 3-3 draw against Belgium back in November, catching the eye as he left Thibaut Courtois standing with his first strike, before lashing an intuitive volley for his second.

Why will he be a breakout World Cup star?

Along with Los Angeles FC’s Carlos Vela and West Ham United‘s Javier Hernandez, Lozano is expected to lead Mexico’s front line in a tricky group against Germany, Sweden and South Korea.

The former Pachuca winger has been a revelation in the Netherlands following his transfer and he showed the same level of ability in last year’s Confederations Cup with Mexico.

He is the breakout star of Carlos Osorio’s squad and, having remained relatively under the radar during his time in Holland, he will give the Mexican’s an undoubted edge.

“Lozano has taken a major step in showing that what he has been doing [at PSV] is not a coincidence,” his national manager explained after Lozano’s heroics against Belgium last year.

“It’s easy now to say he has a great future, two years ago… he was only a topic of discussion. Today he’s reaching his level and it’s credit to what he has done to improve.”

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

What is his future after the World Cup?

After signing with superagent Mino Raiola in April, Lozano is strongly expected to leave PSV this summer and make the next big jump in his career.

Arsenal and Liverpool were named by the Express as potential destinations last December, while Manchester United are known to have held a long-standing interest in the 22-year-old.

The more likely landing destination, however, is Everton, who completed the signing of former PSV executive Marcel Brands in May.

According to the Daily Mirror (April 22nd, page 64), there is strong speculation that after the World Cup, Lozano will follow the man responsible for his initial European move to Goodison Park.

Lozano is believed to have a £35 million release clause in his contract, while alternative reports suggest Pachuca would be entitled to 40 percent of any future transfer fee.

Ultimately, the Dutch champions are unlikely to lose their most valued asset for a small fee.

A star showing at the World Cup will likely attract Europe’s elite, which could see Brand’s Everton priced out of the race for this young talent’s signature, despite strong links.

To see who else features in The Boot Room’s World Cup Ones to Watch series, click here.

Chris is the founder of The Boot Room. He is a Swindon Town supporter, having lived in Wiltshire for most of his years. His work has also featured on Squawka, Bleacher Report and Eurosport.

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