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After Diego Reyes injury, Edson Alvarez more important than ever before for Mexico

Mexico v Scotland - International Friendly Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

You have to admit Diego Reyes’s injury happened at the worst possible time for Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio. Reyes was somebody that could play in multiple roles, and if his teammates’ public show of support on social media showed us anything is that he was a positive influence in the locker room. Whether you loved him or hate him, Reyes was an ideologue of Juan Carlos Osorio, and in a way, a symbol.

With Reyes now gone, there might be no better candidate to take over this role than Edson Alvarez. At 20 years old, Alvarez is still evolving. In fact, you could say his 2018 Liga MX Clausura with Club América wasn’t his best. He often got caught out of position, and like every young defender, he still has his structural flaws.

But there is a reason Osorio likes Edson Alvarez as much as Diego Reyes, his polyfunctionality. Alvarez can play center-back, right-back and defensive midfielder. It’s only natural Juan Carlos Osorio might look to Alvarez’s when architecting his future lineups.

One can argue Edson Alvarez is better on the ball than Diego Reyes. Alvarez makes it look like a natural process, while Diego Reyes had the tendency to shy away from the ball. Of course, Reyes is the more seasoned defender, and when Alvarez plays deeper, he always seems to take an extra second to adjust.

Up to this point, however, we know very little of what Mexico will come out with on June 17. Moreover, we don’t even know if Osorio even plans on starting Edson Alvarez. And that’s the thing, it is not as easy as it sounds. Tempting though it may be, he is only 20 years old. Having a 20 year old anchor your defensive and midfield lines assumes a colossal responsibility on Juan Carlos Osorio.

More realistically, we can expect Edson Alvarez to play a huge part beyond 2018. His former coach Ricardo Antonio La Volpe seems to have a tough time deciding if Alvarez is the next Rafael Marquez or the Mexican Casemiro. This speaks wonders of a player his age, not to mention he has won the respect of pragmatic coaches coaches like La Volpe and Osorio. Alvarez has all the markings to be a constant in the Mexican lineup. And why not? Like Reyes, an ideologue for whoever is the Mexico national team manager in the near future.

What do you think? Will Alvarez play a big role in this World Cup?