I’m guessing I wasn’t the only United fan to say “who?” when Manchester United announced the transfer of Javier Hernandez. Since the signing, I like many of you have eagerly awaited the World Cup and Mexico’s warm up games. Having now watched Hernandez feature in five games a fairer assessment can be made. From what I have seen Hernandez is very much like a young Michael Owen.
My first look of Hernandez came as a second half substitute against England. Although his appearance was brief and limited (Mexico was starved of possession) we were able to gain a first impression.
I stated the following in the first impressions article:
“He likes to play on the shoulder of the last defender; he has good movement (always looking for space in between central defenders) and has pace to burn. We will have to wait on Hernandez’s finishing ability as he had no shots on goal.”
Since their friendly against England I have watched with interest Mexico’s remaining warm up games. Against Holland, Hernandez created space with an intelligent run which allowed him to score unmarked with a clinical header. He scored a further two against Gambia, both typical goal poaching goals. Although Hernandez failed to score against Italy, I remember a world class turn in the penalty area creating a chance for himself. We also saw an improvement in his ability to link up play which had been lacking in previous warm up games.
The opening game of the World Cup now had extra spice as Mexico faced the host nation. To my dismay Hernandez started the match on the bench. I found this strange as he had started the majority of Mexico’s warm up matches. He eventually made an appearance late in the second half but failed to make an impact.
Following the poor display from Mexico’s forwards against South Africa I had hoped Hernandez would start against France. He eventually had his chance to shine as a replacement for Franco and shine he did! Most of you have probably seen goal, how impressive was his ability and composure to finish so coolly? The first one on one opportunity for Hernandez I’ve seen and he didn’t fail to deliver. Perhaps highlights the missed opportunity from Heskey…
My opinion has altered little from the initial impression. Hernandez and Owen share similar attributes: both have natural striker’s instinct; their movement is simply world class, always on the move looking for space dragging defenders this way & that way. Hernandez has pace to burn similar to a young Owen and seemingly both are capable of finishing when an opportunity arises.
This lad wasn’t bought to sell shirts in Mexico, he is the real deal. I’m really looking forward to see how he performs in the red shirt of Man United.
What do you think?