While Hernandez may currently be stuck on the bench at United, everyone knows that he could walk into any other side in the world as a starter. Yet, he accommodates van Persie’s arrival into the first team.
Everybody associated with Manchester United was beaming with excitement at the news of Robin van Persie’s impending arrival. However, there is one person who could be forgiven for not doing so. His name, is Javier Hernandez.
Hernandez joined the newly crowned 2012/13 Champions from his native, Chivas del Guadalajara in 2010. Ever since then, the first-ever Mexican for Manchester United has taken like a fish to water, scoring 31 goals in 70 appearances, bettering his goal scoring record at his old club. While the past two seasons has seen his appearances pass the 20-mark, this season however, is a different story.
Affectionately nicknamed “Chicharito” (which means ‘little pea’), he has netted 8 in his 15 appearances in the league so far. Coming on as a substitute at half-time against Aston Villa, Chicharito scored a hat trick against in his biggest match of this campaign at Villa Park. Such performances as a impact substitute, has earned him the title as United’s new Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
With such an array of attacking talent in the squad, Sir Alex Ferguson always had the selection headache coming his way. Yet, Wayne Rooney, van Persie and even an underperforming Welbeck get the nod ahead of Hernandez. Ferguson is well aware of the speculation linking Hernandez elsewhere, but justifies his decision to leave Hernandez on the bench constantly and does not want him to leave the club. “Javier is on a long-term contract. We won’t be entertaining any interest. I have said to Javier that it hasn’t been easy to leave him out because of his 16-goal tally. Hernandez wants to play in every game. I have no issues with the lad. He’s been brilliant, a breath of fresh air since he came here. He’s a really important player for us. He does something in every game. He changes things. He does something different to the other strikers we have. I hope he feels he’s made a contribution because we all feel he’s done that. His enthusiasm is always there and there’s no reason to think that this isn’t the place for him.”
As the season comes to a close, transfer speculation about the players are inevitable. One particular sneaking suspicion is Wayne Rooney moving to Paris St. Germain (PSG) to partner Zlatan Ibrahimovic in attack. Due to rumors that Rooney might leave the Champions, does it mean that Hernandez will partner van Persie in attack? Or would that signal the arrival of another new striker, Robert Lewandowski from Borrusia Dortmund? With so many unanswered questions, one cannot blame what Hernandez must be feeling. Even with Wayne Rooney beginning to occupy a position in midfield, Japanese star, Shinji Kagawa seems to be supporting van Persie in attack; leaving no place for Chicharito. Despite this, Hernandez just wants to help the team. “I’m happy to be at this club but I’d love more games. My attitude is that even when the gaffer wants me to be on the bench I’m going to do my best. I have to respect the club, Manchester United. But of course I would to start more.”
As Hernandez regularly stakes his claim in the club to be a team player despite the lack of playing time, Ferguson does not have to be told twice to take the 24-year old granted. Having wrapped up the Barclays Premier League title, Chicharito may be the last thing on his mind, as he continues his hunt to break the 95-point record set by Chelsea.
Many will argue that Robin van Persie has hampered the development of the Mexican star. However, only one thing is undisputed, while his opportunities has been lessened, his form has been evergreen. With 24-goal van Persie’s bid to be top scorer assured due to the 10-game ban for Suarez; will Chicharito have a part to play in the last few remaining games of the season?
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