Should Hernandez play on the wing for United?

Javier Hernandez

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez has been on the fringe of the first-team for the majority of this season.

That has not been to his detriment, however, as the Mexican has demonstrated his quality, class and fantastic attitude, making 28 appearances for the Red Devils, of which 9 have been from the bench, and 7 of which he has been substituted himself.

That means the 24-year-old has played a full 90 minutes on just 12 occasional this term and in fact only 3 of those full games were in the Premier League. Yet he’s managed to score 16 goals and make 7 assists in all competitions.

His impressive form has earned him ‘interest’ from suitors abroad as I outlined last week. He could virtually walk into the starting line-up of any other team in the world.

Manchester United is not just ‘any’ team though. They are undoubtedly the biggest, most popular and one of the most successful clubs in football. Which makes it a cumbersome decision for Hernandez and his representatives.

United will be unlikely to sell him – his contract runs until 2016 – and they need him to cover for injuries to first-choice forwards Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.

Danny Welbeck has suffered a similar fate this term, spending the majority of it on the bench but manager Sir Alex Ferguson has opted on a select few occasions to play the young Englishman on the wing. I wonder whether the boss would consider doing the same with Chicharito?

Whilst United have an abundance of forwards in fine form and fitness, the same cannot be said of their wide men. Ashley Young, Nani, and Antonio Valencia have each suffered their fair share of injuries, niggles, setbacks and subsequent inconsistency of form – not just this season but for the last few, I might add.

Nani will very likely be sold this summer if he continues to play ‘cat and mouse’ with United over his contract which expires next year and the other two have been fairly ineffectual this term. United have the imminent arrival of Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha to look forward to but they may just have another option yet to be explore on the flank.

Hernandez’ assist record shows he is capable of crossing and passing in and around the box – his technical level is certainly high enough to make him dangerous on the flank.

He’s fast and tricky and I have little doubt he could do a decent job as a winger. In fact, Robin van Persie spent the first half of his career learning and applying his trade on the left wing for both Arsenal and Holland.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger did much the same with Thierry Henry when he first arrived and he is currently putting Lukas Podolski through the same paces.

The idea is if you can prove your worth on the wing, you’ll get your chance through the middle. Even Theo Walcott and Gervinho have been given that opportunity.

It could be the ideal answer to the question of how to solve a problem like Hernandez. He wants and needs to play more regularly to achieve his world-class potential. I’m sure he’d grab the opportunity to play with both hands, wherever the boss decides to deploy him.

United could save themselves twenty-odd million on a winger and just convert the Mexican super-sub.

image: © eschipul

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