Mexico’s World Cup may have been dissapointing but British managers did recognise some of the brighter aspects of their tournament. Three players have already crossed the atlantic from the Primera Division De Mexico and a few more may follow.
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez had already moved from Chivas Guadalajara to Manchester United before leaving for South Africa and his displays in the tournament auger well for the Old Trafford masses. The striker scored twice against France and Argentina despite being criminally underused by his national coach and he made a scoring debut for his new club yesterday against a Major Soccer League select. At only 22 he was maybe viewed as a longer term prospect but he may burst onto the Premier League if he can handle the more physical, rough and tumble of the British game.
West Ham United wasted no time in securing the services of winger Pablo Barrera in the aftermath of the World Cup. Despite being used as a impact substitute for Mexico he impressed with his direct running style and close control. At price tag of £4 million he could be seen as a bargain basement buy however his performances suggest a lot more. In recent seasons he has impressed since rising through the youth ranks of Universidad Nacional of Mexico City (PUMAS).
Efrain Juarez surprised many when he opted to move to the Scottish Premier League and Celtic. This versatile player can play at right back or right midfield and is known for his combative style. Alike Hernandez he was snapped up at early age by Barcelona but early promise was not realised. Upon returning to Mexico he slowly progressed with Pumas helping them to win last seasons Clausura and cementing a place in the national squad. Despite some noises of interest from around Europe Celtic were the only team to make a concrete offer and snapped him up on a 4 year contract.
All three players were products of a successful Mexican Under 20’s squad that also included the likes of Arsenal’s Carlos Vela and Totenham’s Giovanni Dos Santos. The so called “Golden Generation” followed up their early success with a Gold Cup triumph in 2009 but strangely Mexico coach, Javier Aguirre held little confidence in his starlets in South Africa.
Mexican players have been few and far between in British football. Jared Borghetti was largley unforgettable for Bolton and Guillermo Franco an impact substitute for West Ham last year. Vela and Dos Santos have still to make their mark.
The success of the Mexicans will depend greatly on their ability to adapt and settle quickly into a very different style of life and football in the British Isles.