Davila following Chicharito’s lead
© AFP

Mexico has produced some deadly strikers over the years, from Hugo Sanchez, Luis Garcia and Jared Borgetti through to the country’s latest idol, Javier Hernandez. And following fast on Chicharito’s heels is Ulises Davila, who, like the Manchester United star once did, is making a name for himself with Guadalajara.

The Chivas front man does more than just score goals, he creates them too, as he demonstrated during the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the upcoming FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011, earning widespread recognition as the player of the competition. As he readies himself for the global stage, Mexico’s latest strike sensation spoke exclusively to FIFA.com about El Tri’s hopes for success in Colombia and his career goals.

Quietly confident
The Mexicans were in irresistible form in the qualifiers in Guatemala, winning all four of their games and scoring 18 goals in the process, prompting talk back home of a new “golden generation” to take up the baton from the side that won the FIFA U-17 World Cup Peru 2005. Anxious to avoid any euphoria, however, Davila believes he and his team-mates need to do their talking on the pitch.

“Just like all the other teams, we’re going there to compete and we need to take things step by step,” he says, before expressing his side’s ultimate objective. “Our goal is to make history by winning the World Cup and to bring joy to the whole of Mexico.”

Our goal is to make history by winning the World Cup and to bring joy to the whole of Mexico.
Ulises Davila

To achieve that dream, Los Tricolores will need to apply themselves from the get-go. Facing them in the group phase are two established world powers in England and Argentina, and Korea Republic, who are perhaps more of an unknown quantity. “We are happy with the draw,” says Davila confidently. “What better way to get everyone’s attention than by beating big teams right from the start?”

His faith looks to be well founded, with the young Mexicans benefitting from good organisation and forward planning, factors not always in evidence in the past. “We’ve been together for two years and right from the start we understood what we’re trying to achieve: to play good football with the ball on the ground,” explained the Chivas star. “We’ve played in a lot of competitions and come up against and adapted to different conditions, which is why we’ve made it to the World Cup.”

So what can the world expect when Davila steps out in Colombia? “I’m skilful, two-footed, and I like to shoot from distance and play lots of one-twos with my team-mates,” answers the man himself.

Hopes and dreams
Aside from his own skills in and around the box, Davila lists a clutch of other match-winning talents that Mexico are fortunate enough to call on: “Alan Pulido, Emilio Orrantia, Taufic Guarch and Erick Torres can all make the difference and settle a game for you. It’s always important to have players like that around.”

Strangely, the progress he has made with the national team has not been reflected at club level, largely because of the emergence of team-mate Torres, who has now joined up the Mexico team after missing the Colombia 2011 qualifiers. Both have come through the renowned youth system at Guadalajara, which also produced the trailblazing Hernandez. And as far as Davila is concerned, the club’s sustained success in bringing young players through is down to the exposure they give them.

“They blood us early and give us opportunities in international tournaments,” he explains. “Competing against top-class players helps you grow. Chivas really focus on young players and by the time you make your debut you’ve already got a lot of international matches and overseas tournaments under your belt. By the time you’re 18 or 19 you’re ready for the first division.”

As he goes on to explain, Davila, who lists Ronaldo and Romario as his favourite players, will be gaining further international experience in the build-up to Colombia 2011: “We’re going to the Toulon Tournament shortly and we’ll be aiming to win it and arrive in the best shape for the World Cup. And the most important thing when we get there is to be the champions.”

And the future for Mexico’s latest rising star? “In the medium term I’d like to play in Europe and be at Brazil 2014, but it’s all about taking one step at a time. I have to keep on working hard and just hope that I can be there to represent Mexico with pride.”