COS contributor Liam Apicella sings the praises of talented Mexican striker.
Although it is relatively early days into Javier Hernandez’s Manchester United career, manager Sir Alex Ferguson looks to have unearthed a real gem.
The 22-year-old was a virtual unknown when Ferguson clinched a deal for an undisclosed fee to bring him to Old Trafford in April 2010, but the Mexican striker chose the biggest stage of them all to announce is arrival to the football world.
Hernandez, or Chicharito as he is otherwise affectionately known, featured in all four of Mexico’s World Cup 2010 matches, scoring impressive goals against France and Argentina.
Chicharito linked up with the United squad for the first time during the club’s pre-season tour of North America and gave the Red Devils faithful a glimpse of what they can look forward to with two well taken goals.
And following a fortunate goal during United’s Community Shield victory over Chelsea at Wembley, supporters and pundits alike are beginning to stand up and take notice of the former Chivas Guadalajara star.
Hernandez’s performances have already drawn comparisons with Manchester United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and current United frontman Michael Owen.
These assessments may be a little premature, but there is no doubting that the pint-sized striker looks to have all the characteristics that will allow him to score goals in the English Premier League.
FIFA’s statistical analysis showed that Hernandez was the quickest player at this summer’s World Cup in South Africa, and that pace will no doubt trouble defenders over the forthcoming months.
Similar to Solskjaer and Owen, Chicharito comes alive in and around the penalty area and appears to possess similar predatory instincts to the clinical pair.
Ferguson has been delighted with the way Hernandez has settled into life with Manchester United, and is sure it won’t take his latest recruit long to adapt to football in England.
“Hernandez has had a good start. He is an intelligent player with tremendous pace and penetration,” says Ferguson.
“The Mexican league is tough, so bringing players to England from there is not going to be a problem. He’s quick to get in the box – he’s a really good finisher. He’s got a bubbly character and speaks good English. He’s settled in very well.”
New team-mate Darren Fletcher echoed his manager’s sentiments, saying: “Javier is a lovely lad.
“He has come in and settled really well. He speaks great English and gives us another option up front.
“But strikers thrive on goals. You see the confidence they get from them. Javier will be no different. Hopefully he can get off to a flying start and won’t look back.”
Hernandez will be competing for a starting berth with established Premier League forwards such as Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Owen.
Sir Alex used Rooney primarily as a lone striker last season and was rewarded with a 34 goal return from the England international, but the addition of Hernandez will provide the legendary manager with the opportunity to send a two-pronged attack onto the pitch.
With question marks over Berbatov’s form on a consistent basis and Owen’s long term fitness, what happens next will be down to Chicharito.
But if his start is anything to go by he could quickly become a fans favourite at Old Trafford.