Mexico coach Miguel Herrera and his entourage headed back from their European tour in the early hours of Thursday morning and probably have mixed emotions at how it went, despite the positive statements made on arrival.
Naturally, the negative from Carlos Vela was a stain on the trip and Javier Hernandez’s situation and lack of playing time at Manchester United is disconcerting, as Herrera conceded.
“We asked him (Chicharito) and obviously he’s frustrated at sometimes coming on, giving everything and scoring or getting his team goals and then not seeing minutes,” Herrera told reporters in Mexico City’s main airport. “He had possibilities to leave (Manchester United in January), he told us, but they didn’t let him.”
But the positive is that the Europe-based players, aside from Vela, are all onboard and willing to fight for their places in El Tri’s squad ahead of Brazil 2014, although that, as Herrera has assured, doesn’t mean to say it will be easy or they have a guaranteed place.
Hernandez, for instance, needs to get more regular minutes from somewhere to arrive at the World Cup in rhythm and with Manchester United only now involved in the Champions League and Premier League and Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney back fit, it looks unlikely.
In Portugal, Diego Reyes is an ongoing concern. The fact he is yet to debut can’t be doing the player’s confidence much good and while Herrera is likely to give his former America player more chances, there remains doubts about the 21-year-old’s World Cup place, especially if other center backs in Mexico start to find some form.
His teammate Hector Herrera’s chances of more playing time improved significantly when Lucho Gonzalez left Porto last month and he could well be a starter in Brazil if he can pick up some form and start impacting games in Portugal.
Over in Germany, Andres Guardado’s debut for Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday was tepid at best, but the good news is he got playing time and the fact he featured at left back could be important for Herrera as he defines who should play the left wing back role.
In France, Guillermo Ochoa continues to be steady, even in a weak Ajaccio side fighting for survival in Ligue 1.
Ochoa’s predisposition would’ve pleased Herrera. There were rumors that the ‘keeper had demanded a starting spot in Jose Manuel de la Torre’s side last August, but it is clear he wants to be with the squad at Brazil.
Spain-based trio Javier Aquino, Giovani Dos Santos and Hector Moreno appear the most consistent and set of all Mexico’s foreign legion and are on course for that World Cup call-up if they keep up their current form.
Meanwhile, the federation has been busy nailing down the friendly schedule before the World Cup, with a tie in Phoenix on April 2 against the United States the highlight.
The games are still to be confirmed shortly, but director of national Hector Gonzalez Inarritu teams told media in Mexico City that friendlies against Turkey (May 28, Mexico City), Ecuador (May 31, Dallas), Bosnia (June 3, Chichago) and Portugal (June 6, Boston) are all likely.