Miguel Herrera discusses Mexico's 2015, hints at new faces for El Tri
Mexico coach Miguel Herrera is likely to call up Tigres midfielder Jesus Duenas and Pachuca's flying winger Jurgen Damm to the squad in the near future, according to statements he made in an online video chat with fans on Tuesday.
Duenas and Damm have been in form for their club sides of late, and Herrera has been particularly impressed by 25-year-old Duenas, who can play both in midfield and as a full-back.
"He's been doing well for a while," said Herrera. "I've watched him, and he'll be in one of the call-ups, because we're going to need him."
Mexico is set to embark on a busy few months, with friendlies against Ecuador and Paraguay in late March, another against the United States in April and a summer that will involve a Copa America and Gold Cup doubleheader.
The immediate difficulty, said Herrera, is in selecting the 46 players that will be required over the two summer tournaments and then distributing them over two squads so both will be competitive.
"We don't have the two teams 100 percent defined," Herrera said. "There is a base, but sometimes you see games and a player is injured and out of the international FIFA dates, so you try to look at others."
"We have to call people we've not seen [ahead of the summer]," he added. "There are not many games to see and confirm the two lists."
Herrera is not in any doubt about the priority this summer, with the former Club America coach saying the "idea" is to win CONMEBOL's Copa America, but the "obligation" is to lift the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which would send El Tri into a playoff against the United States to decide which team goes to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.
The coach was also asked how he plans to replace 36-year-old Rafa Marquez when he leaves the national team and had an immediate answer: Diego Reyes.
Herrera stressed that Porto defender Reyes, who is short of minutes for his club, has the ability to play at the heart of a three-man central defense and step out into midfield when required, as he did in November's 3-2 friendly win over the Netherlands in Amsterdam.
"Diego Reyes played that role and did so very well," stated Herrera. "He understood perfectly what to do and came in and out of the false line of four very well."
Herrera was questioned on the goalkeeping position, too, but suggested it ranked low on his list of concerns and highlighted that Mexico has a depth of talent in the position, naming Moises Munoz, Jesus Corona, Jonathan Orozco, Antonio Rodriguez, Raul Gudino, William Yarbrough and Edgar "Meliton" Hernandez as players he is looking at to occupy the six spots he'll need to fill over the Gold Cup and Copa America.
Finally, Herrera broached that tricky subject of naturalized Mexicans pulling on the national team shirt and simply stated that it is a possibility if and when they are better than native Mexicans in their position.
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.