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Manchester United cannot squander Mexican talent

As Javier Hernandez showed again on Saturday against Stoke, he is a player deserving of a starting place instead of second-half cameos

How incredibly different David Moyes would have felt waking up on Sunday morning if Javier Hernandez hadn’t got Manchester United’s third and final goal in a comeback against Stoke in a 3-2 win the day before, earning the club a much needed three points.

The newspapers would continue their doom mongering of the club, suggesting that Sir Alex Ferguson’s shadow looms too darkly over a group of players who seem unable to adapt to a new leader. Instead, the Mexican came to the rescue and saved the club for another day, and not for the first time.

Since his arrival from Guadalajara in 2010, Hernandez has scored 52 times in 124 appearances for the Premier League champions. He has saved the club on numerous occasions, starting as soon as he joined the club.

In his first Champions League appearance he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Valencia, while his first brace came in a 2-1 win over Stoke and his first League Cup goal came in the last minute against Wolves to put Manchester United through to the quarter-final. If you look back through the match reports in which Chicharito featured the past few seasons the phrase “last-minute winner” and “saved his team” are very familiar.

The other phrase which is familiar is “second-half substitute”. Despite his incredible goal return, blistering pace and adoration of the fans at Old Trafford, the 25-year-old hasn’t been guaranteed a first team place over the past two seasons.

It is difficult to argue with your manager when you are competing with Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck for a space every week, but surely the time is looming when the Mexican international will rightly think that he is deserving of more commitment from his club.

Since 2009 Hernandez has played for his national side and excelled under the burden of being the squad’s star player, scoring 35 goals in 57 matches (he scored 12 goals in 13 games in 2011) and helping his country take home the CONCACAF Gold Cup . Moving from the Mexican LIGA MX into the Premier League clearly also didn’t faze him, neither did the responsibility which comes with playing for one of the world’s biggest clubs.

Managers all over Europe must look at him as an underrated talent by United, and are willing to move for him in January to provide him with first team football before the World Cup (only a play-off with New Zealand stands in his way).

Tottenham has been touted as a possible destination, but it is extremely unlikely that Moyes would be willing to let him go to a rival, especially when the Scotsman would rather he didn’t go anywhere at all. But Hernandez will want him and his national team mates to make a big impression at this summer’s tournament, to build on the success at London 2012 and eradicate the memories of a disastrous qualifying campaign, so playing every weekend will be imperative to hone his skills before next summer.

If Chicharito has to leave the Premier League then it would be hard to think of anyone that would be happy to see him leave. Even though rival fans have suffered at his talents numerous times in the past, it is impossible to dislike a player who has so much enthusiasm and love for football no matter how restricted his opportunities are.

Hopefully he will remain in the Premier League and bless us all with his spectacles every weekend.

images: © Audrey Pilato, © eschipul

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