Jonathan Dos Santos: Players' form decides Mexico places, not leagues
LA Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos is adamant that the World Cup fate of Mexico's MLS-based contingent depends less on the league they play in and more on their form heading into Russia 2018.
The battle for places in Mexico's World Cup squad is already intense and Jonathan believes it is important for the likes of himself, Galaxy teammate Giovani dos Santos and LAFC's Carlos Vela to start the MLS season well.
"Getting into the national team depends on you," Dos Santos told reporters in Los Angeles. "You could play in India, China or whichever league, but if you maintain your form then you'll always be considered."
Jonathan and his brother Giovani dos Santos have been doing extra training in the offseason in order to hit the ground running when the Galaxy open its 2018 account at home against Portland Timbers on Sunday, and Giovani is not taking anything for granted when it comes to his place in the Mexico squad for the World Cup.
Asked if he felt his place in the team was safe, Giovani dos Santos said: "No. Like coach [Juan Carlos Osorio] has said, it's every player's job to look after ourselves.
"Everything counts for professional players and I believe that now the work done off the field is very important, if not one of the most important things."
Jonathan dos Santos joined his brother with the Galaxy last July with the team struggling, and LA ended up with the joint-lowest point total in MLS. But the 27-year-old believes this season, "we start from zero."
"MLS is growing," Jonathan dos Santos said. "The teams are a lot better prepared, it's difficult to play."
"The football has grown a lot. It's an important year as much for me personally as for the Galaxy. We know Galaxy is a really big club that deserves to be at the top."
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.