Sir Alex Ferguson is often blasted as selfish for trying to get his players out of going to international tournaments but for once he is spot on with Javier Hernández and the Olympics.
The United boss has agreed with the Mexican FA that his young striker won’t be going to London this summer – and it’s for Hernández’s own good.
No doubt he was desperate to make the trip, given how proud he is of his nationality, but as the saying goes, sometimes pride comes before a fall.
Hernández hasn’t had a break for almost three years, having played a season for Chivas Guadelajara before going to the World Cup, then joining United’s pre-season tour and going on to have a fantastic debut campaign in the Premier League.
Ideally, he would have had last summer off but instead Chicharito was drafted into Mexico’s squad for the Concacaf Gold Cup, where he notched seven goals as his side took home the trophy.
Hernández was spared the Copa América immediately afterwards but was soon back in pre-season training with United on their tour of the United States.
People may think Ferguson is being greedy by demanding his player miss the Olympics but the player’s own national FA obviously see his point that there is no point in Hernández risking further burnout.
With a Confederations Cup and another Gold Cup to come next summer followed by the 2014 World Cup in Rio and then the Copa América in Chile a year later, it’s wise for Mexico to give Hernández a break now while they can.
Otherwise he would have faced the prospect of a staggering five years without a break, which no matter how much you argue about selfishness and greed is surely detrimental to a human being’s health.
The Mexican’s exertions told last season as he failed to reach the heights of his first United campaign, and Ferguson will be hoping a nice break will reinvigorate his fox in the box come August.
With Euro 2012 on the horizon, it has become patently obvious that defending has been left behind, with a distinct lack of talent coming through at the back.
Look back 12 years to Euro 2000, arguably the best edition in recent memory, and you can see Jaap Stam, Alessandro Nesta, Fabio Cannavaro, Laurent Blanc, Marcel Desailly, Sol Campbell and Fernando Hierro among a host of others.
Is there anyone heading to Poland and the Ukraine who can be mentioned in the same breath?
Nesta and Cannavaro have not been replaced in Italy, England will have to choose between the aging pair of John Terry and Rio Ferdinand or youngsters who have not yet proven themselves and the Netherlands still think Khalid Bouhlarouz is an international performer.
The contrast is even starker in France, Younes Kaboul and Laurent Koscielny were yesterday included in the provisional squad for the Euro – neither would have come close if they’d been born ten years earlier.
But the worrying thing is when you look beyond Vincent Kompany, Kaboul and Koscielny have probably been as good as any centre-halves in the Premier League.
In fact it’s only the Belgians who seem to be able to produce defenders fit for purpose, Kompany has been outstanding, Thomas Vermaelen looks good when fit, and Jan Vertonghen could be joining them in England next year.
The problem is the Belgians won’t be heading to eastern Europe. In two years’ time though, and with Eden Hazard, and Chelsea new boy Kevin De Bruyne in attack, the rest of Europe could be in for a shock.
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