Mexico never promised Jonathan Gonzalez spot in World Cup squad - Te Kloese
LOS ANGELES -- Jonathan Gonzalez was never promised a spot in Mexico's World Cup squad, but he remains a top prospect for the national team moving forward, says the Mexican federation's director of national teams.
The 19-year-old California native had been part of the United States' youth national team set-up, but the midfielder switched to Mexico in January in a move that was seen by some as a bid to earn a World Cup place with the United States not qualifying for Russia.
But Mexican Football Federation director Dennis te Kloese said no one in his organization offered Gonzalez a spot in the squad in exchange for his international allegiance.
"Honestly, no [he wasn't promised a spot]," Te Kloese said during Mexico's media day last Friday. "To be honest when I spoke to him and to his parents, the discussion was that he'd be able to fight for a spot, or that he would be given an opportunity in call-ups, and that if he did well at his club he would advance and there would be an opportunity for him."
Gonzalez debuted for Mexico in a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina in January but was left out for games in March and not included in El Tri's 28-man provisional World Cup squad.
Gonzalez was named on the 35-player provisional list that Mexico provided to FIFA but did not release publicly, a source confirmed to ESPN FC.
"I think he did very well against Bosnia," Te Kloese said. "I think also that he's very talented to be honest, but he's also very young still."
The midfielder is currently in France with El Tri's under-21 squad at the Toulon Tournament, having chosen to forgo his postseason vacation in order to be with the Mexico youth squad.
"He actually asked if there was a possibility to travel to France," Te Kloese said. "I think he wants to take a little bit of time to get involved and fight for a spot."
Gonzalez and the rest of Mexico's under-21s will face a strong England side on Tuesday, having defeated Qatar 4-1 in the team's opening match.
After excelling with Monterrey in Liga MX last fall, Gonzalez has been garnering interest from La Liga club Celta de Vigo, according to reports, after former Monterrey manager Antonio Mohamed was recently named coach of the Spanish club.
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.