The most glaring thing of note during Tabarez’s reign as coach so far has been the diminished use of local players in the national team set up. Unlike other’s before him, Tabarez has used very little to no players at all from the Uruguayan first division for either friendlies or qualifiers. Is that due to the league not being to an international standard? Or is it due to Tabarez’s arrogance?
In the past 7 years Tabarez has used only a handful of local players for both friendly and World Cup matches, predominantly using only foreign based players for either venture. The Uruguayan league is currently under recess which is understandable yet while active Tabarez has called upon very little to no players plying their trade in Uruguay. In the recent match against Spain Tabarez called up Andres Scotti from Nacional and Matias Aguirregaray from Peñarol. Both players are hardly surprise call ups due to the fact that both and in particular Scotti are established members of the National team set up. Only on specific occasions has Tabarez ever call up a squad with predominantly domestic players due to scheduling conflicts with Europe or to test players out before the Eliminatorias of 2010 like with his matches against Venezuela, Colombia and South Africa. In fact Tabarez has seldom relied on calling up players from Uruguay only calling 1 or 2 players at a time.
Tabarez had begun calling players at the beginning of his second reign as coach for a training session or 2 with local players like Muslera, Arevalo-Rios, Gargano, Nacho, Godin, Fucile, Mono Perriera and Seba Fernandez joining in the fun and games. However since then selection of local players has been scarce to the point that today local players are expected not to get called up at all regaurdless if it’s for a friendly or eliminatoria. For the last Eliminatorias for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa Tabarez has called up on ocassion Miguel Amado (Defensor Sporting), Diego Arismendi (Nacional), Álvaro Fernández (Nacional), Diego De Souza (Defensor Sporting), Egidio Arevalo Rios (Peñarol), Martin Silva (Defensor Sporting), Nicolas Lodeiro (Nacional), Rodrigo Munoz (Nacional), Japo Rodriguez (River Plate), Alvaro Gonzalez (Defensor Sporting) and Diego Rodriguez (Defensor Sporting). So far for in this round of World Cup Qualifiers he has called up Emiliano Alfaro (Liverpool) and Diego Rodriguez (Defensor Sporting) against Chile and Rodrigo Munoz (Nacional) for a game. That’s it…That’s all.
In the not too distant past with Passarella, Pua, Carrasco and Fossatti as coach, all 4 have on many occasions called up a provisional squad of local players before calling up all the overseas players they needed. This is something Tabarez has not done at anytime as coach. That’s not too say that we have more players playing in Europe now or we have players who are in better teams now so the reliance on foreign based players is heavier, but with those 4 as coach of the national team the use of foreign based players was just as heavy, however unlike Tabarez they seemed to give local players a look in first before making a final squad.
Passarella and Pua had Fabian Carini from Danubio as their number 1, even though Claudio Flores was at Lanus, Alvaro Nunez was at Numancia and Robert Siboldi was at Tigres of Mexico. Gianni Guigou and Gustavo Varela was the midfield machine from Nacional that made their way to become the core of the national sides attack. Diego Rodriguez of Peñarol and Gonzalo Sorondo of Defensor became must haves in the defence and Mario Regueiro was at Nacional when he was troubling international defences and Chengue Morales was also at Nacional when he scored a double to send Uruguay to Japan/South Korea.
JR Carrasco to his great credit gave many local players an opportunity to shine on the international stage with many of his starting players coming from the Primera Division. Hornos and Liguera were at Fenix, Carlos Bueno and Alejandro Lago at Peñarol, Marcelo Sosa at Danubio, Pablo Munoz at Defensor, Adrian Romero was at Nacional and Cristian Nunez was playing for River Plate when they all were major cogs in the potentially faulty Carrasco machine. (The less said about Cono Aguiar from Fenix the better!)
Jorge Fossati also gave locals a chance with Sebastian Viera (Nacional), Cristian Rodriguez (Peñarol), Omar Pouso (Danubio), Jorge Martinez (Wanderers), Gonzalo Castro (Nacional), Fabian Estoyanoff (Fenix), Carlos Diogo (Peñarol), Guillermo Rodriguez (Danubio), and Diego Perez (Peñarol) all being integral to his squad lists. These days Tabarez has had very little interest in dealing with local players. It seems that in order for you to have a chance with playing for La Celeste you need to be at an overseas club. For some unannounced reason Tabarez has continuously swayed his attention elsewhere while local players like Tony Pacheco, Juan Manuel Olivera, Alvaro Recoba, and OJ Morales have all been ignored. Is Tabarez justified in his approach with the locals?
It’s been no secret that in the recent years past, the Uruguayan league has hit some sour times, with major clubs failing to make a dint at continental level, crowd troubles and incredibly substandard pitches. The level of performances from local clubs and players may have dropped substantially which has justifiably caused Tabarez to look the other way, but is it so much that they have little to no chance with getting into la seleccion? Either way it is glaring to note that regardless of club local players are not really within Tabarez’s plans in any form of the game. Why he chooses to do this and whether he is justified in his actions still remains to be fully certified.
Guest Writer: in_your_bright_ray