One of the burning questions of Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio's tenure at the helm of El Tri so far is what to do with Swiss-army knife Miguel Layun. Layun, currently with Porto (along with El Tri teammates Hector Herrera and Tecatito Corona) in the Portuguese Liga. Before that, Layun was at Watford in the English Premier League.
Layun has played primarily at left back and defensive central midfield at Watford and Porto. He featured mostly as a left wing-back when Miguel Herrera was the Mexico manager.
However, Layun is naurally right-footed, and is comfortable at right back. Osorio has said Layun will not play on the left (presumably Tigres defender Jorge Torres Nilo will have that spot when he returns from injury), and instead will compete with Club America defender Paul Aguilar for the position of right-back.
Aguilar, if you recall, is no slouch, having done this last month.
This leaves Layun in a tricky position. He's talented enough that he should be in Mexico's first-choice XI, and has been in terrific form this year for Porto, but Osorio has already announced he won't play his most-played position, and he's competing for a spot with a player every bit as good as he is.
As far as we can tell, there are four options for how to deploy Layun:
Option 1: Right Back
This is the most likely option, as Osorio has announced this is the position Layun will compete for. It all depends on how much criticism Osorio is willing to take for leaving Aguilar on the bench, though.
Option 2: Left Back
Layun is more talented than Torres Nilo, who is currently nursing a sprained ankle, but apparently Osorio has seen something that he likes here. This is where we would play Layun, and bring Torres Nilo off the bench in emergencies.
Option 3: Defensive Mid
Mexico is long on attacking midfield players and short on defensive mids. Even their box-to-box types like Hector Herrera and Jonathan dos Santos don't generally play the role of shielding the defense (one reason Miguel Herrera played a back five).
Miguel Layun is capable of this, though, although the players ahead of him at central mid are established talents who play their roles well. We see this one as unlikely.
Option 4: Off The Bench
One great thing about Miguel Layun is he can fill in pretty much anywhere if someone needs to come off, and if Osorio feels he has a formation that is working well, he can bring Layun on in multiple places without changing it. The downside is, obviously, leaving one of your best players (and maybe best defender) on the subs' bench.
We can't read Osorio's mind, so we'll just have to wait and see how this goes.