Tata Martino frustrated with Tecatito's decision to miss Mexico camp

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Stan Szeto
The El Tri coach hoped the Porto winger would join up with the national team this window and was frustrated by his sudden reversal

Mexico manager Tata Martino says he's not making threats, but promised Porto winger Jesus "Tecatito" Corona's decision not to travel and join El Tri's March camp will have repercussions.

Martino convened his first full camp as Mexico manager Monday, with nearly all 29 of the players he called in arriving at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. Corona, however, notified the team Sunday that he wouldn't be making the trip.

The manager said Tuesday that Corona was set to travel and be in camp, though he didn't have to play if he was concerned about a knock he's carrying.

"Jesus, I made contact with him on the phone 17, 18 days before the call-up. He told me he was good. We did the call-up. Saturday he spoke with one of the doctors and told him he had a problem in his ankle, that he was playing with injections," Martino told Univision

"Sunday I was in touch with him and told him that although he might not be able to train and might not be able to play, he could be with us in this camp, getting to know us and seeing how we work, including that if it was necessary he could continue or start his ankle rehabilitation here without any commitment that he had to play.

"At first, Jesus agreed, but five hours more or less after, while we were in the airport he called me again to tell me that he’d talked - I don’t know if with his family or with his agent or with his club - and told me he’d decided to do his recovery there and he didn’t feel good enough to travel.

"I didn’t agree with his decision but I respected it. I also told him that it’s not a position that starts and ends with this camp. There is going to be some repercussion in the future."

While the repercussions sound serious, Martino said he wasn't saying the player wouldn't be welcome in future Mexico camps. Still, the manager didn't conceal his frustration at the 26-year-old making a late switch.

"I’m not here to make future threats. Those are decisions the players make that you have to take naturally and respect it in a way, beyond the fact that obviously, I don’t share his opinion," he said. "I’ll press on with the players that want to be here and evidently those who want to take a step to the side, that’s fine. It’s their decision. There’s not a lot more to say."

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Martino looks to be inheriting a problem from former Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio, who often was in conflict with Porto's medical team and expressed frustration on multiple occasions that Corona, midfielder Hector Herrera and former Porto fullback Miguel Layun were held out of camps by the club. Herrera wasn't included in Martino's initial call-up as he looks to secure his Portuguese passport. Porto also remains alive in the UEFA Champions League with the first leg of the quarterfinal series against Liverpool taking place April 9.

Corona also has been in and out of the national team, with fans growing so frustrated that the Mexican federation felt the need to divulge the nature of the personal problems he was going through that led to his withdrawal from November 2017 friendly matches. He missed the Confederations Cup earlier that summer with a different set of personal issues.

Martino makes his debut at the helm of El Tri on Friday with a matchup against Chile before facing Paraguay on March 26 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

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