Potentially outgoing Rangers striker Eduardo Herrera has revealed just why countryman Carlos Pena struggled so badly at Ibrox.
As Rangers fans will know, conspiracy theories about the Mexican international raged from a struggle to fit into the culture, to good old homesickness, to even an ill-disciplined lifestyle of boozing and partying.
But Herrera revealed none of these were the primary reason, and the simple cause of his problem with fitting in was nothing more than language. And the fact he could not understand Pedro Caixinha.
It’s an odd one – Caixinha himself natively speaks Portuguese, which is not Spanish, of course, unlike Pena’s native tongue, but nevertheless the barrier between the two should not have been as great as it apparently was, especially because Caixinha’s addresses were, naturally, in English.
Herrera revealed all:
“I think it was more complicated for him, because of the language, which he simply couldn’t understand. I think this adaptation for him was much more difficult than it would be for other players because every instruction had to be translated for him.”
Translators in football dressing rooms etc is nothing new, but it is incredibly inconvenient and if a player struggles to integrate with others because he cannot understand what anyone is saying without the aid of his translator, it really isn’t going to work.
Herrera went on:
“Most of the time Carlos had to consult him (translator) to understand what the coach was actually trying to say.”
In short, after six months Pena still barely knew a word of English and a move back to a country in which he understood the coach was clearly in everyone’s best interests.
Of course, there’s an argument to be made that Pena was lazy to not bother learning English, and that in itself does show a lack of respect for his new country and employer.
But of course, the man is still Rangers’ player, so we will see how it goes when he likely returns in the summer (his loan spell in Mexico is apparently going disastrously).