Alex Zendejas had been on the radar of the Mexican national team for some time, but after the talented attacker committed his future to the U.S. men’s national team last week, Zendejas is focused on what’s to come this international window.
Zendejas is currently with the USMNT ahead of upcoming Concacaf Nations League matches against Grenada and El Salvador over the next seven days. The 25-year-old recently returned to action with Liga MX side Club America this month, logging 34 minutes total in matches against Tigres and Chivas de Guadalajara.
After committing his future to the USMNT last weekend, Zendejas is ready to continue his quest of representing his country for many years to come.
“The last time I came in January I felt very comfortable,” Zendejas said in a press conference with media Monday. “I met old teammates, and I felt the project here is for the long term.
“My goal is to play the World Cup and that is why I made the decision to choose the United States,” he added. “I was also happy to find again players that I have known since I was a kid.”
Zendejas has enjoyed back-to-back impressive seasons with Club America, logging 13 goals and five assists in 44 appearances for the Liga MX heavyweights. His strong Apertura campaign last fall led to Zendejas’ January call up earlier this year, where he logged 90 minutes in his USMNT debut against Serbia.
Mexico remained linked to Zendejas over the winter, despite being forced to forfeit five matches (three at youth level), and being fined $10,900 by FIFA for using him while he was affiliated with the United States. Reports out of Mexico also said Zendejas would have filed a one-time switch with FIFA if he was promised a World Cup spot by former manager Tata Martino, but Zendejas spoke out Monday about those rumors.
“Obviously I spoke to my family about it almost every day or every week because I was getting calls from everywhere,” Zendejas said. “But in terms of that thing about securing a spot, I don’t think anyone can be in a position for someone to secure something for you. We have to work on that daily and prove to people that we deserve the opportunity.
“I don’t know,” he added. “It was a bunch of chaos that happened over there. People saying stuff that wasn’t true, people saying that stuff that was true, but at the end of the day, I just try not to focus on that. I try to focus on my club team and playing well. Then at the end of the day, I spoke to my family and we decided to represent the USA.”
With Zendejas’ international future confirmed, the goal for him will be to continue developing alongside several of the current USMNT stars and try to carve out a long-term role in the squad. Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna headline the current winger options in the March roster, while Taylor Booth, Djordje Mihailovic, and Brenden Aaronson could also be used as well in those positions.
Zendejas has already impressed once this year under Hudson’s tutelage and will have the support of the interim boss heading into a pair of competitive matches.
“Alex certainly adds more quality and depth to the squad,” Hudson said following the USMNT roster reveal last week. “He’s someone that really impressed us all in January and we’ve obviously seen a lot of him playing for his club. We are really pleased he has agreed to join us. We see it as being a great addition to the team going forward.”
Another player who can also slot in underneath a striker if we go to a more 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-1-2 or 5-3-2 etc….