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One of the biggest criticisms for the Mexican National Team during 2013 was the fact that there was no on field leader to rally the team when things got tough. One of the first things current manager Miguel Herrera did to try and solve this problem has reincorporate a veteran guy like Rafael Marquez.
Mexico Desperate for Leadership, will Settle for Experience
05/10/2014
 
Apr 2, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Mexico forward Alan Pulido (11) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the second half against USA during a friendly match at University of Phoenix Stadium. The game ended in a 2-2 tie. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest arguments against the Mexican National Team during 2013 was the fact that there was no on field leader to rally the team when things got tough during the final stage of the World Cup qualifiers. During 2011 and 2012 things were all great and players like Giovani Dos Santos played at a high level with no pressure; but in came 2013 where the team was expected to steam roll through CONCACAF opposition, but instead everything wen't haywire.


The pressure was too much for players and then manager Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre. On the field there was no Cuauhtemoc Blanco, or a Pavel Pardo type of player capable of lifting the team up. 


One of the first things current manager Miguel Herrera did to try and solve this problem was reincorporate a veteran guy like Rafael Marquez. The central defender did improve his game from what he displayed in MLS with the New York Red Bulls, but it is still far from his best days at Barcelona. Despite all of this, his resume alone warrants respect and admiration from his teammates. Other players naturally turn to him for leadership because of his experience, but he is not they type of guy that can push the team forward during the difficult moments as stated by one of Mexico's biggest leaders Cuauhtemoc Blanco a few months ago to ESPN.

"I've known Rafa for quite some time now. He is a very accomplished player, but lacks that authority in the field to yell and whip into shape the younger players during the course of a game."
-Cuauhtemoc blanco-

Miguel Herrera also decided to not take advantage of the little time FIFA allotted the teams to test out players. The former Club America manager decided to skip the 30 player roster list and go straight into the final 23-man World Cup squad. In this list some surprising names come up and it is assumed that due to the lack of leadership in the squad, Mexico will be settling for experience. 


Carlos Salcido came out of no where


The former Chivas of Guadalajara youth product and current Tigres UANL member was a key part of "Chepo" de la Torre's squad. Despite being a natural full back, Salcido was a key part of de la Torre's midfield along with Gerardo Torrado. Salcido was also a big part of the historic Olympic Gold Medal winning Mexico squad in 2012. 


He can play center back, right or left back, and defensive midfield. He has played in leagues like Holland's Everdise and England's EPL. His experience and his versatility is unmatched by any Mexican player. 


Guardado's ExPerience (not his form) beat Miguel Ponce


One of the biggest battles for a position in Mexico's World Cup squad was between Bayer Leverkusen's Andres Guardado and Toluca's Miguel Angel Ponce. 


Ponce has had an amazing last 12 months; he was part of the Olympic Squad in 2012, as well as the young Gold Cup squad in 2013. His transfer from Chivas of Guadalajara to Toluca also saw a rise in form from the 23 year old. He has been a key part of a Toluca squad that reached the CONCACAF Champions League final and that is currently in the Clasura 2014 semifinals fighting out a spot in the final with Leon. 


Andres Guardado on the other hand, has had a forgettable last 12-18 months. His free transfer from Deportivo La Coruña to Valencia did not work out as good as each side had hoped. Guardado was first dropped from left winger to left back, and eventually taken off of the starting eleven.  His playing time suffered significantly with Valencia, this was evident whenever he came to perform with the Mexican National Team. Despite the lack of playing time, he was still a key part of de la Torre's squad.  


Ponce and Guardado were both fighting for a spot on the plane to Brazil, time on field was always going to be unlikely for both during the tournament as Miguel Layun seems to have that left wing-back position locked down. But Miguel Herrera seems to have opted to have European and World Cup experience sitting on the bench over the higher form of Miguel Ponce. 

 
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