Tata Martino expressed his intention to strike a balance between established veterans of El Tri and young prospects.
During his Monday night media availability, newly names Team Mexico coach Tata Martino offered some insight into his goals and objectives for El Tri over the coming 4 years.
One of the questions asked of the Argentinian was whether he would continue with the generational transition begun by Tuca Ferretti during last year’s six post-World Cup friendlies, or whether he would stick with the established veterans.
While clearly trying to be general and not be too outrageous in his answers, Martino did seem to try and give honest and clear details on his opinions.
He strongly suggested that instead of choosing one or the other, that he would rather try to combine some veteran players and also try to give opportunities to the truly promising youngsters.
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As with everything Tata Martino said during his press conference, his answer was scrutinized by the Mexican press and TV pundits. It’s clear now that his statements did not please everyone.
It is important that veteran players such as Javier Hernandez, Hector Herrera, Andres Guardado and Guillermo Ochoa are utilized and not simply discarded, while it is also important that youngsters such as Edson Alvarez and Diego Lainez are provided opportunities to impress on the international stage.
Given his recent success at Atlanta United as well as his distinguished career – including stints as Barcelona manager and as Argentina’s national team coach – it is clear that Tata Martino has the ability and the mindset to bring out the best in older players. However he also has the ability to work with young players, recognizing what they need to improve and grow, and he makes it clear he is willing to give them a run-out.
In many ways, regardless of his press conference performances, Tata Martino will simply be judged on the outcome of games and tournaments. In particular, he will be under the microscope at the March friendly vs. Paraguay, because he will be matching wits with former Team Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio. If anybody knows how it feels to be probed and scrutinized, it is Osorio who was treated harshly by the Mexican soccer media.
It remains to be seen whether Martino has the maturity, capacity and the willingness to endure the often negative scrutiny from the Mexican press and from El Tri’s fans, who always expect their coaches to perform well.
However it is an exciting time to be a fan of the Mexican national team and it will be interesting to see how the players react to the new coach’s methods and ideas. And, of course, we’ll also be comparing his style and results with those of Osorio.