Tom Marshall: Dos Santos reveals maladies in El Tri

In an insightful interview, the Mexican star noted that "four coaches in a month says it all" while ruing the national team's struggles.
From problems in El Tri, his friend Carlos Vela and finding stability with high-flying Villarreal, Mexico international Giovani dos Santos touched on fascinating issues in a rare and insightful interview with Spain's El Pais in a piece published Monday.

The most inflammatory statement from dos Santos was about the rut that Mexico's national team has fallen into recently.

"Four coaches in a month says it all," he said. "(The team) lacks a style and an idea of what we should be doing on the field."

Dos Santos points out that many of Mexico's players won Olympic gold and believes that not finding an identity on the pitch for the national team has led to difficulties in replicating substantial success in youth soccer at the full international level.

"Spain found a style that suited it," explained the former Barcelona player. "In Mexico a lot of coaches have come, but they haven't found it. They put in a system without being bothered where you play for your club."

The 24-year-old added that he plays behind the striker at Villarreal, but that when he comes to the national team he features on the right wing, something he clearly doesn't feel is for the best.

"I can't produce as much," was dos Santos' blunt analysis.

And with the debacle over Real Sociedad's Carlos Vela and his refusal to join up with El Tri even in its hour of need, dos Santos is surprisingly understanding of his friend's stance.

Explained dos Santos: "People ask why Vela doesn't go with the national team. Here (in Spain) he has prestige. Why should he go, so that they destroy him? He'll play with a different system than at Real and those of us in Europe take all the blows (when things go wrong)."

It wasn't all negative from the Villarreal star. Dos Santos said he very much identifies himself as Mexican despite living most of his life in Spain and having a Brazilian father, joking that he can't eat food that isn't spicy.

The interview also seemed to be an attempt to clear up certain things about his past, with dos Santos indicating that playing for seven different clubs at just 24 has broadened his mind and given him plenty of experience.

"The circumstances enriched my life as much as my football," said dos Santos. "And I learned that coming from Barcelona doesn't guarantee anything because in soccer everything gets forgotten."

Giovani explains that it was a huge culture shock moving to Barcelona from Monterrey at age 12.

In the famous La Masia academy he was surprised that clothes were washed, food and equipment was provided, and every need catered for, while "in Mexico there were no showers and dirt pitches."

On the field, though, a lot more was asked.

"In Mexico they didn't demand you controlled well or they didn't get mad because of a bad pass," said dos Santos. "In La Masia they demand perfection. Competition is the core principle."

Leaving Barcelona to move to Tottenham at age 19 was partly due to problems with the directors and his belief that Bojan, as a Catalan, was prioritized in moving up to the first team.

At Spurs, where the coach who brought him — Spaniard Juande Ramos — was fired just four months after signing dos Santos, the player says relations with Harry Redknapp were never great.

"I was never to his taste," stated dos Santos. "That stuff about the partying is a myth created about me. I'm very professional and I look after what I eat and get rest."

Now settled at fourth-place Villarreal with six goals in 10 La Liga games this season, dos Santos is perhaps in the form of his life, especially considering the consistency. Whether it is good enough to get in Miguel Herrera's squad for the World Cup playoff against New Zealand we will find out in the next couple of days.

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