Javier Hernandez made a rare start for Manchester United in their League Cup win over Newcastle. He showed glimpses of his best form during the game yet he finds himself way down the pecking order for the Premier League and Champions League. He is a vital asset to United and they have to keep him happy.
The one thing you always notice about Chicharito when he plays is his drive, determination and enthusiasm. It doesn’t matter what the competition is or who the opposition are, he is always the same as he sprints around the pitch looking to press and make a general nuisance of himself. This is something that United have not really had a in a striker since the days of Carlos Tevez and it’s something they will miss if they allow him to move on due to a lack of first team football.
Another thing you always notice instantly about Hernandez is his speed across the turf. His legs go at a hundred miles per hour and this makes him one of the quickest players in the United team. Shinji Kagawa may have recently set the United bleep test record but Hernandez will give anyone a good race over 100 metres. The value of this is massive because pace of strikers in football scares defenders and puts them on the back foot.
Hernandez is deceptively good at linking up the play between the midfield and the attack. When he is playing with a bigger striker like Wayne Rooney or Robin Van Persie, he knows he can drift into space in between the lines in the knowledge that they will be going the other way. What this does is it keeps the defence focused on the physical presence and allows Hernandez to do what he does best as he ghosts around the penalty area.
Improvisation has always been a massive part of the Mexican’s game. Every United fan will remember his backwards header in the Premier League which secured a 2-1 away win. Hernandez showed brilliant quick thinking when the ball bounced up to arch his back and get power going through his body in the wrong direction to nod the ball over the line. This is the sort of thinking that perhaps only Van Persie is capable of at United and it is something that Sir Alex Ferguson would be very naïve to ignore.
Hernandez is extremely effective coming on as a sub late into games because he is such a fast and busy player. His fitness cannot be questioned and he could easily play 90 minutes regularly but his effectiveness as a sub is undoubted. A great example is when he came off the bench to secure a 1-1 draw at Anfield in the Premier League last season. Furthermore, he’s always good value for his celebrations when he scores.
Hernandez has played three games in the league this season, two as sub. He has scored one goal and looked in very good touch in the match against Newcastle. He is certainly behind Wayne Rooney and Van Persie at the club and United have to be very careful they don’t let him slip through the net if he seeks more regular action at another club. They would be stupid to let him go without a fight.