Canadian-born Marcelo Flores, who plays for Arsenal’s under-23 side, says he wants to play internationally for Mexico.
Canada had hoped to secure the services of the 18-year-old attacking midfielder, who is also eligible to represent England.
Flores was born in Georgetown, Ont., to a Canadian mother and Mexican father. He first moved to England six years ago and is now seen as a budding star in the Arsenal system with five goals in 11 appearances for the London club’s under-23 side.
“Despite the ability to represent several countries, I have always been a part of the Mexican national team system,” Flores said in a social-media post. “It’s where I feel most comfortable.”
“Today I speak from the heart and feel the need to communicate something I’ve known to be true for a while that I think is important you heard directly from me,” he added. “I will represent Mexico wholeheartedly for the rest of my professional life.”
His declaration promoted a response on the Mexican team’s official Twitter feed.
“And Mexico will always welcome you. We’re delighted to continue this journey with you, Marcelo,” it said.
A Mexican youth international, he has won two caps already for Mexico at the senior level, both in friendlies – most recently in an April 27 draw with Guatemala. Still, Canada coach John Herdman had hoped he would choose the Maple Leaf.