Mexico coach Luis Fernando Tena: Chicharito a 'natural candidate' for Olympic squad

The Manchester United striker could be representing El Tri in London this summer.
With the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament over and Mexico safely in the London Games, attention will now turn towards the team's 18-man Olympic squad and especially one player in particular.

Manchester United's Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez is Mexico's most well-known player, and he happens to ply his trade in the Olympic Games' host country. The superstar striker would seem a logical candidate for Mexico's Olympic squad.

The coach of that team, Luis Fernando Tena, happens to agree.

"Chicharito is a natural candidate. Everyone knows about him, his talent, he plays in England," Tena said after his team defeated Honduras 2-1 in extra time to clinch the CONCACAF U-23 title."

He added: "Obviously we've thought about this, but we can't say he's in yet. He's a candidate."

Hernandez will turn 24 in June, making him too old for the Olympic roster cut-off date. Were he to be added to the Olympic team, he would take up one of Mexico's three overage roster spots.

Because of his huge talent and popularity, that spot would seem to be his if he wants it. Still, Mexico has two strikers who were in red-hot form during Olympic qualification in Alan Pulido and Marco Fabian.

Pulido, who scored five goals in five Olympic qualification matches, acknowledged the challenge ahead for playing time in London, despite his goalscoring prowess in qualifiers.

"I'm motivated, but I still need to keep my feet on the ground," he said. "We have a lot of important players, reinforcements are coming."

Fabian, who also scored five goals in qualifiers, echoed Pulido's sentiment.

"My next dream, first and foremost is to be selected in the Olympic Games," he said. "My place is not assured, we have a long road ahead of us to be able to be there."

For Tena, he will be faced with the proverbial problem every coach loves to have: A plethora of options to choose from at striker, even if Chicharito is not on the Olympic roster.

"Unfortunately, we have a tough decision to make knowing we can only take a certain amount of players to the Olympic Games," he said.

"Our reinforcements, I don't know, we're thinking about it and we need to know who's up for it. We're still four months out and we have time. They have to show us what they're capable of."

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