international friendly

Eriksson to hand Castillo chance to shine

November 11, 2008

Mexico coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has confirmed Nery Castillo will play in the friendly against Ecuador despite the midfielder not featuring for his club side Manchester City.

The 24-year-old has been unable to secure regular first-team football at City this season under Mark Hughes, who has told the player he does not feature in his plans at Eastlands.

However, Eriksson trusts Castillo will start to rediscover his form against the Ecuadorians in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday.

Answering those who did not agree with the selection of Castillo, Eriksson said: "I don't care about them. If we had followed what critics said after the World Cup qualifiers against Canada (2-2) and Jamaica (1-0 loss), I would have been worried and I don't want that.

"The decision is made by the coaching staff, by me. We will watch Nery Castillo. We'll see which his current condition is. Nery has trained very well. I think he is physically fine. We'll see what happens on Wednesday. We still have one training session left tomorrow but I think we'll give him the chance to start the friendly and then see whether he can play only 45 minutes or more."

Eriksson hailed Castillo's skills but he did not confirm whether the attacker will be named in the squad for the World Cup qualifier against Honduras on November 19.

"Nery has a lot of qualities with his speed and technique, but the nomination is a decision to make on Thursday or Friday," added the former England boss.

Meanwhile, Tottenham forward Giovani dos Santos will not be part of the squad to play the decisive match against Honduras, as Mexico need at least a draw to advance to the final round of the CONCACAF Zone.

"Giovani dos Santos is not well at all. He is out for four to six weeks but he will not be fine for the Honduras match. He is said to undergo surgery. Our doctor phoned the Tottenham doctors and there is a bad, serious injury," Eriksson said.