Herrera reached out to European-based players

Posted by Rafael Ramos Villagrana

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Miguel Herrera sought out eight of the Europe-based players. Carlos Vela was not on his list.

Herrera reached eight of the five. And his chat with them, he says, had a positive outcome.

"They all understood [their not being called up against New Zealand]," he revealed in an exclusive interview with ESPN Deportes TV analyst Fernando Schwartz.

Javier Hernandez, Javier Aquino, Hector Moreno, Hector Herrera and Diego Reyes "understood perfectly," and that "what they wanted most of all was for Mexico to qualify for the World Cup," explained Miguel Herrera.

And what about Andres Guardado, Giovani dos Santos and Guillermo "Memo" Ochoa? For the former, he left a message with his agent after not being able to contact him. For Gio and Memo, he left messages on their voice mail.

There was no feedback. There was no answer. Not from Guardado. Not from dos Santos. Nor from Ochoa. They didn't call back. And days and weeks passed in absolute silence.

1. In normal circumstances, it is just basic good manners to answer phone calls, especially long-distance ones.

2. And if those calls have to do with an immediate professional matter, and an urgent one, such as the Mexican national team, clearly there is an unavoidable duty to return the call.

3. And if this missed call arrives during times of transition, of supposed solidarity for the soccer fraternity on the edge of panic, because at that point you couldn't get odds for the 5-1 result against New Zealand even at the bookies, then all the more reason to respond to Herrera's concerns.

4. And the duty to get back to him was even greater because the three I referred to, who decided not to call back, are, to a certain extent, also responsible for Mexico finding itself condemned to the playoff, to fight for a crust (of old, hard bread) among the paupers (dunces and oafs) of global soccer. Their not wanting to speak to Herrera does not make them any less guilty.

5. And what about standing together? Without a doubt, and beyond good manners, nobility and affability, the gesture of having met Herrera halfway would have been a fraternal, sociable and loyal act, backing a group that had been made responsible for cleaning up the mess others made during the 2013 CONCACAF Hexagonal qualifying campaign.

Of course, we have to be understanding. Maybe their cellphone plans don't allow them to make long-distance calls, and those calls might break the bank for players who earn more than a million and even two million euros per season.

It would appear, from this perspective, that the reaction is a tantrum. It seems a resentful impulse, maybe suited to nobodies, but not for players who are World Cup veterans.

In other words, taking into account their oh-so-busy, so hectic lives, with an average of only two or three hours of daily work on the field, we can only interpret the act of not wanting to hear the explanations of the current coach of their national team as a tantrum, a coach who might go on to the 2014 World Cup, depending on the performance of El Tri on Wednesday against New Zealand.

But the question remains. This rebellion, this fit by Gio, Memo and Guardado -- is it a clear act of insubordination, and of solidarity with only one person and not with others?

Are these three signing an alliance with Vela instead of building bridges with the guys who were obliged to take the baton in Mexico, reviving the corpse and putting on the jersey others had dishonored?

Do, then, the thoughts of Tuca Ferretti carry weight, when he said, almost in a tone that provided an excuse, that the Europe-based players could now refuse future call-ups after being left out against New Zealand?

"Surely Vela is now saying to Chicharito: 'See dude, what did I tell you,'" the Tigres coach joked on that occasion.

And the most interesting aspect will be finding out the effects after the 5-1 result against New Zealand, and if this emerging El Tri, with green jerseys and yellow undershirts, is able to qualify for the World Cup. What will be the reaction of those three once passage is obtained?

Do they have a right to be hurt, resentful or bitter? Do they have a right to hold a grudge against Herrera? They would have some justification if they had not received explanations.

But of course, of the five who did speak with Herrera, surely there would have been some who argued, discussed and dissented, and no doubt Chicharito did this, showing as he did previously with Chepo de la Torre his never-say-die attitude.

So of the eight, those five are not the ones in the wrong. Or are they?

Does El Tri need those three? Or more accurately, as an observer of Mexican soccer once said, does El Tri need this trio of four players (Gio, Memo, Vela and Ochoa)?

The answer is simple: it does need their soccer skills. Players of this stature will always be important.

However, out of place and arrogant attitudes like these are not needed.

Enough effort was wasted with the player who is without a doubt the most complete Mexican striker, Carlos Vela. And he still said no.

But it should also be made clear: If Mexico is able to book its place in the World Cup and if Herrera continues as manager, as seems likely, regardless of the disdain or refusal of those three, his duty, as the leader, as the head of this mission, is to give them all a second chance, and he surely will not invent excuses, as, for example, Chepo de la Torre did in the cases of Vela and Ochoa.

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