Tom Marshall: Is Hector Herrera ready to make his European move?

The young midfielder has drawn the attention of several big European clubs. He has the ability to succeed abroad, but does he have enough experience?
Hector Herrera’s days in the Liga MX appear to be numbered.

All signs indicate that the Pachuca midfielder will sign a deal with a European club during this transfer window, with the player wanting to move and the club willing to let him go for the right price.

Porto, Manchester United and a French team have been confirmed as having genuine interest, but club president Jesus Martinez has also stated Herrera will not be allowed to leave until after the Clausura season.

Diego Reyes’ future club Porto appears to be in pole position, but there is little doubt others are circling the 22-year-old, who first came to prominence outside of Mexico by winning the best player award at last year’s Toulon Tournament.

But is “El Zorrillo” (The Skunk) ready?

The short answer is yes.

His goal last weekend against Atlante is an early contender for goal of the season and highlighted a number of Herrera’s attributes that has seen him awaken interest of Europe.

Herrera started his run in Pachuca’s half, picked up the ball just over the halfway line, burst past the last defender with his first touch, steadied himself with his second and produced an exquisite chipped finish with his left foot with his third.

Herrera made it look easy, when, in fact, it was anything but. Especially the finish.

Against Atlas in the Estadio Jalisco on Saturday, Herrera was slightly quiet, but when he got on the ball he looked by far the most likely Pachuca player to make something happen.

A lofted pass over the top of the Atlas defense in the 57th minute demonstrated his excellent vision and almost handed Pachuca an equalizer.

Combine that with his stamina, athleticism and technique and you get a player that interests the likes of Manchester United.

If there is a doubt, however, it would come over if Herrera has the necessary experience and possibly the consistency required in Europe.

He has only played 38 games in Mexico’s top division and that goal against Atlante was his first. His debut for Pachuca only came 18 months ago.

Internationally, Herrera has only played 22 minutes for Mexico’s full national team.

In comparison, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez had already played 15 times for El Tri before he first pulled on the red shirt of Manchester United and featured 66 times for Chivas.

In terms of consistency, Herrera was hampered last season due to injuries and the fact former coach Hugo Sanchez seemed to prefer him playing out wide, but he didn’t have the impact post-Olympics that he would’ve liked.

This season, the Rosarito, Baja California native has played in central midfield, which is his more natural position, and he seems to have benefited.

Off the field, Herrera is from humble beginnings and talked in one interview about not being able to afford basic things for his young son as he battled to make it as a pro and how it drove him on.

Unlike some of his fellow London 2012 gold medal winners, Herrera still doesn’t look at ease in front of journalists or on camera.

He’ll surely be getting plenty of practice in coming years, but for now, Herrera is letting his performances on the pitch speak for themselves.

Europe watches on. 

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