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 By Tom Marshall

Lozano, Pineda, Montes, Pizarro and Aguirre are El Tri's ones to watch

At just 21 years old, Hirving Lozano is already one of the most exciting stars in Mexican football.

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio has been very direct in stating El Tri's next batch of youngsters should be looking to play in Europe's top leagues in order to increase the competitiveness of the national team.

Some Mexican players have benefitted from the overhaul of the youth systems and the establishment of Under-20 and U18 leagues a little under a decade ago.

Here are five players who could be of interest to sides in Europe ...

Hirving Lozano (Pachuca) -- Winger -- Age: 21

The most advanced young Mexican in terms of his development. The fact Lozano is already a full Mexico international and has been so highly praised by Osorio mean clubs on the other side of the Atlantic will be well aware of what he has to offer.

Raw speed and acceleration are Lozano's greatest assets, but he has vastly improved as a goal scorer in 2016 and has shown he can cope when targeted by opposition teams, which happened often in Liga MX in 2016. Playing in a front three, Lozano is most dangerous cutting in from the left on to his favored right foot.

The real issue with Lozano potentially moving to Europe would be the price. With former Pachuca teammate Rodolfo Pizarro signing for Chivas for a reported $14 million in December, you would have to think Los Tuzos would ask for even more for Lozano, which could be a stumbling block, unless a really big club came in.

Orbelin Pineda (Chivas) -- Central midfielder -- Age: 20

"[Orbelin Pineda] is one of those players that has to end up in a great European club. He has the talent and the attributes," said Chivas coach Matias Almeyda back in October. And the Argentine isn't one to throw around such words about haphazardly.

Pineda has become the darling of the Chivas faithful in 2016 due to his sheer work rate. The former Queretaro midfielder's performances relegated 2014 World Cup players Carlos "Gullit" Pena and Jose Juan "Gallito" Vazquez to the bench.

Technically sharp, skillful and with a turn of pace to burst past opponents, he has an appetite for big games. He appears as relaxed in front of 80,000 people at the Estadio Azteca as he would be back in Guerrero having a kick around with his friends. The fact he has already taken on and succeeded following the crucial move to Chivas -- a big club even by European standards -- also bodes well.

In terms of positional discipline, Pineda still needs to improve, although that side of his development may have been held up by the fact he's been moved from an attacking midfielder to the holding role and even on the wing since he debuted in the first division in late 2014.

Succeeding Rafa Marquez is nigh on impossible by there's high hopes for Cesar Montes.

Cesar Montes (Monterrey) -- Center-back -- Age: 19

The search is on in Mexican football for the successor to Rafa Marquez and Cesar Montes is the nearest thing to it at present.

Montes can defend, is good in the air thanks partly to his big frame -- think Francisco "Maza" Rodriguez -- and chips in with important goals from set pieces. But the really striking feature about his play is when he has the ball at his feet. The youngster already has an extensive range of passing and is very comfortable in possession. That balance between being strong defensively and being able to play is a rare combination and a highly sought after commodity at the top level.

Montes isn't the quickest and there is a question over whether he would be as effective without Los Rayados center-back Jose Maria Basanta -- one of the best defenders in the league -- next to him. But he is already playing in front of 50,000 or more fans for Monterrey and should be aiming to break into the Mexican national team in 2017.

Rodolfo Pizarro (Chivas) -- Attacking midfielder -- Age: 22

Pizarro has just made a career-defining move, but it was over to Chivas and not Europe. Like when Jurgen Damm left Pachuca for Tigres in June 2015, the transfer highlighted the spending power Liga MX clubs have.

Midfielder Pizarro is technically very good, versatile and has settled well into a more advanced role behind the striker, having previously played the early part of his first team career as a right full-back. The challenge for him now is to stamp his authority on Chivas, win Liga MX and then hope a European club is willing to pay big money for him.

Pizarro, however, is very one-footed and also needs to work on his strength.

Erick Aguirre
Erick Aguirre is vastly experienced in Liga MX yet hasn't even turned 20.

Erick Aguirre (Pachuca) -- Central midfielder -- Age: 19

When a player is consistently playing international youth soccer above his natural age group for a country like Mexico, it grabs the attention. Aguirre has done just that, as well making 49 appearances in Liga MX at just 19. The cultured midfielder seems to see the game in slow motion, has an excellent temperament and can also play at right-back, where he his passing ability adds an extra element to his team's play in possession.

Next year will be vitally important for Aguirre. Although he plays in a deeper position than Pizarro, the opportunity is there for him to nail down the starting place at one of Liga MX's very best teams.

Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.

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