Giovani dos Santos earns high praise from Mexico boss for fitness
SAN ANTONIO -- Giovani dos Santos means business in 2018 and his Mexico manager has already called him in for praise for his preseason fitness.
The 28-year-old has been criticized for his professionalism at times in his career, but his efforts in the close season brought a positive reaction from Juan Carlos Osorio ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Bosnia & Herzegovina.
"Those that have come in without games because of the offseason, like those from MLS -- Carlos [Vela], Jona [dos Santos] and Gio -- are looking really good," said Osorio on Tuesday in a news conference at the team hotel. "Giovani in particular is in an athletic condition that is possibly the best in his career."
Osorio said he visited the Galaxy player in Los Angeles and has been impressed, despite Dos Santos not having played a competitive game since Oct. 22 last year.
"I took advantage of the offseason to work on the physical side as much as possible. I'm great physically," said Giovani, who was sat alongside Osorio. "I believe I've had the best offseason in my career, mentally and physically I'm in a very strong state."
Dos Santos and the other MLS players are set to feature for El Tri in the national team's first preparation game of 2018 in the build-up to the World Cup.
But with competition for places fierce ahead of Russia 2018, Giovani -- who had a disappointing 2017 for club and country -- isn't taking anything for granted when it comes to him being selection for he summer tournament.
"In the football world, no one has their position assured and even less in the national team," said Giovani, who said he sees himself playing under Osorio in a right wing or advanced midfield role.
"It's a World Cup year and every Mexican footballer in the world wants to go to the World Cup, so everyone wants to do as much as possible to catch the coach's eye."
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.