Romero hopes to debut with Paraguayan national team against Japan

Asuncion, June 7 (IANS) Midfielder Alejandro Romero Gamarra, who plays for the Major League Soccer (MLS) New York Red Bulls has said he hoped to make his debut with the Paraguayan national football team in the friendly against Japan in Austria next week.

“I can play wherever the coach tells me. The truth is that it’s great to be a starter, but if it’s not for me, I have to support the team, that’s the most important thing. Hopefully, I can play and show what I can do,” Romero, a naturalised Paraguayan citizen born in Argentina, said in a press conference following practice, reports Efe.

The June 12 friendly against Japan will be the farewell match for long-time Paraguayan national team goalkeeper Justo Villar. The 40-year-old goalkeeper has played for the squad for more than 19 years.

The friendly with Paraguay will be the last pre-World Cup friendly for the Japanese national team before it heads to Russia.

The 23-year-old Romero said he was still “getting to know” his teammates and was “happy” to play for interim coach Gustavo Morinigo.

“I hope to be called up for the next (selection of players), but I have to keep improving day by day and working with the club so I’ll have the opportunity to be called up here,” Romero told reporters at the national team’s practice facility in Ypane, a city in Greater Asuncion.

In other team news, Winger William Mendieta, who plays for Paraguayan league champion Olimpia, will take the place of the injured Derlis Gonzalez against Japan.

Morinigo called up the 29-year-old Mendieta on Wednesday to replace Gonzalez, who plays for Ukraine’s Dynamo Kiev.

Gonzalez injured his knee during a practice session on Tuesday.

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