Martino confirmed in an interview with ESPN on Thursday that he’s yet to find out what LAFC standout Vela’s plans are for the summer, but hopes that the 30-year-old will be part of the Mexico squad, despite not picking the former Arsenal player for the March friendlies.
“We always hope [to have] the great players and he is one we are hoping [to have], but it also depends on a chat that we will have, like that famous coffee in Los Angeles,” said Martino, referring to a photo that went viral of him at a coffeeshop with Vela in March.
Porto midfielder Herrera also missed the March games as he prepared for his Portuguese citizenship test and once again could be out, with the 29-year-old set to move clubs and carrying a lingering injury.
“Herrera is a topic that we’ll have to see about with the doctors because Hector has carried an old problem in his knee, he’s had a draining season. We’ll talk with him to find out his situation and how to resolve it,” stated Martino, adding that he was hoping Herrera’s club future would be defined by now.
Reports in the Dutch press suggest PSV Eindhoven star Lozano is in a battle to recover his fitness in time for the summer tournament, while West Ham United striker “Chicharito” Hernandez is unlikely to join up with El Tri due to the expected birth of his first child in the middle of the tournament, according to Martino.
“From my point of view, it’s not good to have a footballer, as important as Javier may be, in a tournament with their head in another place,” said Martino.
The likely absence puts more focus on Wolves striker Raul Jimenez, who is coming off the best season of his career in the Premier League, which Martino described as the best in the world.
“He’s on his way, but not there yet,” the 56-year-old Argentine said.
Martino lamented that two key figures in him taking over the Mexico national team have already left, only five months into his spell in charge. Dennis te Kloese has left the Mexican federation for LA Galaxy’s front office and sporting director Guillermo Cantu announced Wednesday that he’ll also be leaving at the end of the Gold Cup, with former player Gerardo Torrado taking over.
Mexico’s full squad for the Gold Cup is scheduled to be released next week. The federation announced on Thursday that Raul Gudino, Alexis Vega, and Jonathan Orozco — Liga MX players whose teams failed to qualify for the Clausura playoffs — will begin training at the national team’s complex.
ESPN Mexico is reporting that Galaxy winger Uriel Antuna is on the preliminary list for the tournament, with sources saying that teammate Jonathan dos Santos should be available despite an injury in Wednesday’s loss to the Columbus Crew.