Mexico, Herrera look to youth for busy 2015

Mexico head coach Miguel Herrera (right) visited the under-20 national team at the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship earlier this month. (Photo: Mexsport)

MEXICO CITY – Though there isn’t a World Cup to contest, 2015 promises to be a significant one for Mexico and Miguel Herrera.

At a presentation/press conference on Tuesday, Herrera and the head coaches of other national teams under the umbrella of the Mexican Football Federation laid out their objectives for the next 12 months.

Last year, the Tricolor reached the round of 16 at Brazil 2014, before falling to the Netherlands.  It will be challenged once again this summer as the Copa America and the CONCACAF Gold Cup loom large on the calendar in June and July.

Since the two competitions are separated by only a few days, Herrera asserted that two competitive teams will need to be formed.  He believes, however, that Mexico has more than enough capacity to do just that, especially with the talent being produced by the youth squads.  The under-20s just returned from Jamaica with a third straight CONCACAF title.

"Of course, we have the ingredients to build two very good selections,” said Herrera.  “There are players that come from younger selections and have many qualities and technical responsibility has been placed on them.  I put young players to play and today they can be important players that have already migrated to Europe.  We must take advantage of the selections of Raul Gutierrez and Jesus Ramirez.  The under-20s are making important players.”

Herrera noted, however, that Mexico’s youth sides also have international competitions for which to prepare and he doesn’t want to disrupt their activities.

"Unfortunately, for this year, to say that I'm going to grab young players from the teams of (under-20 head coach) Sergio Almaguer or (under-23 head coach) Raul Gutierrez is difficult because I am going to weaken their teams,” commented the 46-year-old.  “They have major tournaments such as a World Cup, Pan American Games or qualifying for the Olympics.  We have the Gold Cup and Copa America.”

The former Club America manager happily pointed out that large numbers of talented youngsters continue to be produced and that there are more than enough quality players to satisfy the needs of each national team.

"We are exporting more and more players.  Hopefully, we continue with this,” noted Herrera, who won 14 caps for Mexico.  “We have just seen the under-20s.  We saw two under-17 championships and they have to go out because they are players with great talent.  Now everyone has to form his team, taking care of his work somehow.”

 Success breeds success and Mexico, once again, will look to build on a program that has proven adept at sustaining that notion.