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Why Mexican football confident Ulises Davila will make it at Chelsea

It's been a battle for Ulises Davila to establish himself at Vitesse Arnhem, but no criticism is coming from inside Mexican football over his decision to move to Europe.

Davila was snapped up by Chelsea from Chivas Guadalajara at the start of the season in a blaze of publicity. But since his loan move to Vitesse, the young attacker has struggled for minutes.

Mexico's U17 World Cup winning coach Chucho Ramirez admires Davila's ambition and is convinced he'll be better for the tough times he's had to go through this term.

"It is always important to live another experience abroad, which means adapting to everything, the language, other circumstances, I think it is a good challenge to go and fight, improve, get to know yourself," he said.

There's concern Davila, who is regarded as the jewel of Mexico's Olympics team, will be underdone for the London campaign.

But Ramirez argues: "If he had stayed here (in Mexico), he will almost certainly be playing, but that's always a guess. I think there is always something in taking a risk.

"Here he was guaranteed to play. But he made the decision to go, to try and not settle for what he was doing while here.

"If you have the mental strength to go there and fight, you may do well, the experience of being in another country, in another scenario, can improve you."

Davila, now seeing some action under Vitesse coach John van den Brom, admits he sought out expats playing in Europe for advice - including Manchester United star Javier Hernandez.

"People like Chicharito and Omar Bravo have helped with my confidence," says Davila "They told me the key is hard work. They say if you want something badly enough, there's no reason why you can't succeed."

The 20 year-old knows it hasn't happened for him in Holland, but insists: "I have very clear goals. I am going to work very hard here so I can get to London.

"I want to compete for a starting place (at Chelsea), that's my goal and what I'm working hard towards."

Vitesse teammates recognise Davila's commitment on the training pitch and have quickly come to respect the Mexican's work ethic.

"He's all hard work and perseverance," Vitesse midfielder Giorgi Chanturia told Los Europeans recently. "I've told him to keep it up because he's done great so far.

"Uli is one of the best young players in the world and will play great football because he has great qualities. I think when someone from Mexico comes to Europe its unlikely they'll be an instant starter because the adjustment can be difficult."

Back at former club Chivas, the faith in Davila's ability has never wavered. Indeed, the club's powerbrokers rate the youngster in the same class as United star Chicharito.

As club owner Jorge Vergara says: "We did not want to lose Ulises, but Chelsea pushed us for a month and a half. They see him in the same way as Chicharito. I'm sure Ulises in time will rival Chicharito. This was too good an opportunity for him to pass up."

Former Chivas coach José Luis Real also said of Davila: "Ulises can succeed in Europe. He has the talent. He has the power of a bull, is strong on both sides of his body, can create goals and also score them. He has all the qualities needed, now its about improving each one of them."

Vitesse enjoy a close relationship with Chelsea through the friendship of their owners, Merab Jordania and Roman Abramovich. Along with Davila, there is also Patrick van Aanholt and Tomas Kalas on-loan from Stamford Bridge.

Former Blues fullback Chapi Ferrer just missed out on working with Davila after leaving as coach last year. He says the Eredivisie is a good starting point for Davila in Europe.

"Adjusting to Arnhem is much easier than in London. Davila will feel comfortable in the Netherlands, we're not talking about something difficult because it is a peaceful country, full of calm. In London, it can be dazzling for a young player, it's very cosmopolitan and spectacular."

However, the Spaniard does have a warning for the youngster should he come through the adaption process at Vitesse successfully.

"These days, Chelsea's academy is awesome and the coaches there demand very high standards. Last year Nemanja Matic had to leave for Benfica and Slobodan Rajkovic to Hamburg.

"Although their quality may be good enough for Chelsea, the way back to Stamford Bridge is not easy, Davila will have to prove that he is better than those already inside (the system)."

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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