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Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio “patiently waited many days” to have an opportunity to speak to then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson for five minutes back in the early 2000s. It was a process that involved persistence, a trait that has characterized Osorio’s career in general, but perhaps especially so given he was then a Manchester City assistant.

But Osorio has never forgotten the meeting with Ferguson, in particular the words of encouragement about rotating players to increase competition for places, a core pillar of the Colombian’s footballing philosophy.

Fast forward to Feb. 22, 2018 and Osorio got another chance to sit down with Ferguson in England, this time at greater length and in his role as Mexico manager just a few months out from the World Cup.

No doubt former Manchester United striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was a subject of conversation, as perhaps was the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, in which Ferguson managed Scotland, and maybe just how El Tri should approach their opening Group F World Cup game against defending champions Germany on June 17.

As part of his trip to Europe, the former Atletico Nacional coach is also set to check Hernandez’s form when West Ham travel to Liverpool on Saturday; then join the rest of the World Cup coaches in Russia for the pre-tournament workshop and may also find time to converse with one or two other legendary managers before returning to Mexico.

Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.

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