IBWM StaffComment


IBWM StaffComment
Mex Jorge Enríquez.jpg

Jorge Enríquez     22     Midfielder     Guadalajara     Mexico

2013 has been…

Hamstrung.  Square of jaw and menacing of eye, Jorge Enríquez García is very much the archetypal defensive midfielder. Debuting for Guadalajara in 2010, Enríquez has been something of a mainstay for Las Chivas for most of the last three years.  A regular performer at the heart of a string of under 23 sides, Enríquez was an Olympic champion for his country at London in 2012. The Olympics really should have been a springboard for a move to Europe and while clubs looked, none were prepared to buy and that situation is defining Enríquez right now. 

As The 100 went to press last December, Enríquez had almost completed a move to Benfica and this looked a distinct possibility still as January came into view.  Athletically built and strong in the tackle, he can also play as a central defender and would no doubt have given messrs Matic and Pérez stiff competetion for places in Jorge Jesus' midfield. 

Observers of Portuguese football will note that Benfica instead held back and Porto moved for fellow Mexican Diego Reyes in the summer.  Although Reyes is more of a defender, he is an intelligent player that passes well and can play just as well in midfield. 

We received a fair amount of criticism last year for not including Reyes in The 100, which is entirely reasonable; it was a very tough call.  At that point, we assumed that Enríquez would be the player to move first and with that little bit more aggression about him, had the chance to develop and shine much quicker than his classy compatriot.

It didn’t happen though and as a result, Enríquez has remained with Guadalajara through a fairly topsy turvy year.  Injuries have been something of a curse and it’s Enríquez’ hamstrings that have been the primary issue.  With his team unbeaten in eleven matches in the Liga MX Clausura between January and April, Enríquez picked up his first injury of 2013 in the opening minutes of his team’s home match against Club América.  With their midfield exposed, and that hard working defensive screen no longer on the pitch Guadalajara capitulated and Raúl Jiminéz took advantage scoring twice to give Las Águilas a deserved away win.

Enríquez’ absence was really felt over the coming weeks as his team lost the following five matches.  Returning to the Mexico national team for the Gold Cup games in the summer, Enríquez never looked quite right and missed a great deal of Guadalajara’s Apertura fixtures as his team won only one of eight games between July and August.

Press accusations of excessive partying dogged the midfielder throughout the year, but he returned to the starting line up at the Estadio Omnilife in September and immediately began to make a difference, helping arrest a dreadful run of defeats for his team, before picking up a further knock in the autumn.

What next?

It’s got to be all about a move.  We genuinely cannot quite fathom why no team has yet snapped up a very good player who we are sure will be able to make a successful transission to a stronger league.  Fitness continues to be the red flag though, but we have been assured by contacts in Mexico that a very sharp and particularly svelt looking Enríquez’ is in good shape for the forthcoming Clausura.

Patrolling midfield alongside experienced colleague Patricio Araujo will give Guadalajara a strong platform to build upon.  Fans of the club will hope that their young hopeful can remain injury free and guide his team to better days ahead.

There is much for Enriquez to look forward to in 2014 with the World Cup gradually descending upon us.  There seems little doubt that, fully fit, he can make an impact for his country and it may be that a strong showing in Brazil is the catalyst for a move.  For now, it’s all about staying fit and doing what he does best.  Guadalajara tend to do well when he plays, Mexico could do the same. This boy has genuine ability; hopefully it will be something that is on display to a larger audience very soon.

"Mexico really made hard work of qualification for Brasil 2014, but they are at least there now.  We seem to hear of a succession of 'golden generations' but the successful under 23 teams rarely seem to achieve as they reach senior level.  Of the current batch, there is a genuine chance that one player in particular could make a name for himself in 2014, but Jorge Enríquez will need to get some of the basics right before he sets ambition to anything higher." - Jeff Livingstone, IBWM

D     Tough going but windows of opportunity lie ahead