Arsenal prospect Flores leaning towards Mexico

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Arsenal youth player Marcelo Flores trained with Mikel Arteta’s first team for the first time on Tuesday and although the 16-year-old is eligible for Canada and England, the playmaker has said that Mexico is “one of the best countries to play football for.”

Flores was taken by surprise by the call-up to training from Arteta, but told ESPN Mexico Tuesday that it was “the best time I’ve ever had” and indicated that being able to one day play for three national teams is a blessing.

“It’s always good to have three options,” Flores told ESPN Mexico over a video call. “I’ve recently in the past chosen Mexico because it’s where most of my dad’s family is and I’d love to make my dad’s family and him proud with Mexico. I feel like Mexico is one of the best countries to play for in football for the men’s [teams].”

Canada-born Flores signed for Arsenal in March 2019 and says he bases his game around Philippe Coutinho and Eden Hazard. His sisters Silvana and Tatiana are both on the books at Chelsea and have played for Mexico youth national teams.

Father Ruben Flores is also a former player in Mexico’s first division and a coach and is adamant Marcelo will have the final say as to his international career.

“It’s his decision,” said Ruben in Spanish. “He’s got the possibility of playing for three countries and he’ll have to make a wise decision about where he’ll develop best, where will give him the best opportunity.”

“What’ve I’ve always said to him is that it has to come from the heart,” he continued. “You can’t play football without feeling it, feeling the colors. You’re going to represent a lot of people; it has to come from the heart … Until now I’m very proud and happy that he’s decided to play for Mexico. He likes it when he goes and that’s what is in his mind, but the advice I’ve always given him is to feel it from the heart.”

Flores played left wing in training but considers himself more of a No. 10 and was impressed with the level of the first team Arsenal players as they prepared for Saturday’s season opener against Fulham.

“The ones that impressed me today were Hector Bellerin, Joe Willock … Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did some good skills and dribbles,” said Flores. “Overall I thought they were the best.”