By Jack Rawlinson
It was around this time last year, early April 2010, when Manchester United announced that they had secured the signature of a young, Mexican striker, from Chivas Guadalajara. The name Javier Hernandez may not have been the most recognisable in England back then. However, a year on from that, it’s safe to say that Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez has undoubtedly been one of the biggest success stories in English football this season.
When the club announced the signing, most Man United fans wouldn’t have had a clue of what they had in store. Many would have looked him up on YouTube, to find clips of a quick, clinical finisher, scoring goal after goal in the Mexican league. However, video montages can be deceiving, as even the worst players can be made to look half-decent in a 30 second clip. The first real glimpse we would get of him was in South Africa, at the 2010 World Cup.
While it already said a lot about the player that he was representing his national team, his performances in Africa gave United fans a preview of what they could look forward to; a well taken goal against France followed by a stunning goal against Argentina more than whetting the appetite.
Hernandez linked up with his United colleagues for the first time on their tour of the United states, in pre-season. After scoring in every game, including one against United in his farewell game for Chivas, he made a goal scoring competitive debut against Chelsea, finishing after the ball ricocheted off his face.
Since then, we have come to see what a great prospect Chicharito is. His pace and positional awareness have meant comparisons have been drawn with a young Michael Owen, whilst Sir Alex has likened him to an absolute United legend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. With 17 goals in 36 appearances so far this season, he has done remarkably well. Taking into consideration his relative inexperience, and the fact he has had to move to England and adapt to a completely new style of play, he has had an exceptional campaign, and it isn’t even over yet. It is also worth mentioning that his goals have had major influences on United’s progress in all competitions; his two goals at Stoke earning us our first away win in the league, his goal at the Mestalla from the subs bench to beat Valencia and his brace against Marseille in the Champions’ League were pivotal moments in getting us in the position we’re in now.
In a day and age where clubs are paying ludicrous amounts of money for strikers, such as £35million for Andy Carroll, and £50million for Fernando Torres, the fact Sir Alex and his staff have unearthed and acquired such a gem for a fraction of what the going rate is in today’s market is a testament to the clubs philosophy and ethos. The fact that, on a purely individual level (for the time being), he is out performing players with such price tags, makes it all the more sweet for United fans.
Here’s to hoping he can carry on his great form, which has been recognised by the PFA nominating him for the Young Player of the Year gong.
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