Did Mexico screw Gio?

photo by vanylive

photo by vanylive

While Kartik at MLS talk is full of praise for Mexican coach Javier Aguierre and full of daggers for Bob Bradley – especially after the rout against Mexico in the final of the Gold Cup – in retrospect Aguierre’s handling of that tournament, as opposed to Bradley’s, may have put Mexico in a much worse position for the next World Cup than the U.S.

The 5-0 win in the Gold Cup final was no-doubt a great ego boost to Mexico. But they may have also paid a significant price for it. Gio’s latest injury in the Carling Cup makes it less likely that he will break through with Spurs this year. While the injury can’t be blamed on Aguierre, Gio is without a doubt in a worse situation with Spurs because of the Gold Cup.

Bradley and Aguierre adopted different approaches to the Gold Cup. In the two Mexico-US games this summer just two of the same American players (Ching and Holden) featured in both, while for Mexico 8 players featured in both games. For the U.S., Bradley saw the tournament as an opportunity to give players on the outside of the likely World Cup squad a look and made sure that the tournament didn’t get in the way of Euro-based players preseason training. This was due in part to the U.S. already participating in a major international tournament before the Gold Cup. But Bradley also wanted to ensure that players trying to break through abroad, would get a full preseason with their clubs, therefore improving their chances to gain playing time. Hence, Davies and Altidore were sent back to France and Spain, Feilhaber to Denmark, and Adu to Portugal. While it would have been good to have a few of these players for the Gold Cup, it was more important that they get settled with their club.

Aguierre on the other hand, used Mexico’s young studs, Giovanni Dos Santos and Carlos Vela, to anchor Mexico’s run in the Gold Cup. But as a result both missed much of the preseason training and both have struggled to gain a foothold at Spurs and Arsenal. Vela finally featured as sub in a carling cup game – he was recovering from a minor injury, but his place in Arsenal’s squad looks uncertain. Over at the Vital Spurs, a UK football site, Ox writes about Gio:

The ideal time for the player to impress was in pre season and impress he did, but with Mexico… Another opportunity missed and neither the player or club can be blamed for any of it, which adds to the frustration. Pre season was the time to show a manager what he could do…But with Tottenham`s excellent start, could Harry really be expected to drop players and throw in a player who has had a few problems off the pitch and one he has hardly seen on it?

As a Spurs fan I have been advocating the inclusion of Gio more and more, especially with Luka Modric out injured. Unfortunately for Gio, he simply hasn’t had enough time with Spurs to give Harry Rednapp the confidence to put him out there. I think he would have had more of an opportunity in the next few games – considering it was doubtful he would have been thrown out to the wolves against Man U and Chelsea. But the news of his ankle injury this week makes it less likely that Gio will break through this any time soon for Spurs even when he returns to full fitness, since Modric will return before he does and now with Niko Kranjcar signed, it is going to be very hard for Gio to find his way on to the field. Spurs could sell or loan him out in the winter. But if Tottenham are doing well in the league and remain in both cup competitions, they may decide to hold on to him for cover. Also it would be a mistake for Spurs to sell him before the World Cup, since he will no doubt feature and perhaps see his value increase. Hence, Mexico could face going into the next world cup with their future star playing only a handful of games for his club. As we can attest with Altidore this year, that is a recipe for a rusty player and is a bad bad scenario for Mexican fans.

So in retrospect, Bob Bradley’s player management this summer looks even better. Bradley ensured that Charlie Davies got a full preseason with his club in France and now Davies has become a solid member of the starting 11. That’s much better for our World Cup chances than winning the Gold Cup.


One Response

  1. Carlos Vela is one of the best players around. Nice blog. 🙂

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