Javier Hernandez endured a difficult campaign for United last term, finding himself on the fringes of the side as the Red Devils limped to a seventh place finish in the Premier League.
The 26-year-old was granted only six starts all season as David Moyes’ disappointing reign at helm came to an early end in April with Ryan Giggs temporarily taking charge of the first team.
With only four goals to his name in England’s top flight in 2013/14, the man known as ‘Chicharito’ is reportedly facing an uncertain future with Louis van Gaal set to take over at Old Trafford following the World Cup.
Like current Netherlands manager van Gaal, Hernandez will also be in Brazil this summer - representing Mexico - but his struggles at the club level have seemingly had a knock-on effect for international matters.
Once the undisputed starter up front for his country, Hernandez finds himself battling for a place in Mexico’s starting eleven with fellow forwards Giovani dos Santos and Oribe Peralta.
El Tri boss Miguel Herrera dropped the United man to the bench in favour of dos Santos and Peralta for Mexico’s 1-0 friendly defeat to Portugal on Friday, showing a clear preference.
And with Mexico’s June 13 group stage opener with Cameroon fast approaching, Herrera seems set to get the World Cup underway with Hernandez in a substitute’s role.
Asked at his post-game press conference if Friday’s starting line-up was the one that he will field against Cameroon, Herrera said: “Yes, that is the staring eleven that I like, there will be a big percentage of that team starting.”
Peralta in particular laboured to have an impact in the loss to Portugal, but Herrera praised the Club America striker in an indication that he will be chosen at Hernandez’s expense in Brazil.
“Today wasn’t the usual Oribe, but his attitude is what I like about him.
“He generated fouls, attacks and he held the ball. When he needed to work out wide, he did.
“I want to see Oribe the goal scorer causing havoc in the penalty area, but even when he doesn’t have those opportunities, I still like what I see in his attitude.
“I took him out late on because he was tired.”
Hernandez came on for the final 32 minutes of the game and created a trio of chances for Mexico, but Herrera’s words suggest the showing may be too little, too late to win a starting spot.
The United forward has been linked with summer moves to Valencia and Inter among others, and it remains to be seen if his diminished stature for El Tri will be a motivating factor in determining his club future in the coming months.