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Manchester United Vs Bolton Wanderers, Sat 19 Mar 2011

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Javier Hernandez has admitted he is being forced to hit the gym in an effort to cope with the physical demands of the Premier League.

Hernandez has enjoyed a superb first season since arriving at Manchester United from Mexican outfit Chivas in the summer.

A virtual unknown until he caught the eye for his country at the World Cup, Hernandez avoided the trap Diego Forlan fell into by scoring on his competitive debut for United, an unconventional effort in the Community Shield, and has kept going ever since.

His double against Marseille on Tuesday took his seasonal tally to 16, well in excess of what he anticipated at this stage of his Red Devils career.

But far from finding English football easy, Hernandez is doing a huge amount of work behind the scenes to ensure he is capable of meeting the challenges that lie ahead.

"I have done better than I thought I would," said the 24-year-old.

"But I wouldn't say it has been easier. Nothing in life is easy.

"Physically I have got a lot stronger. I go to the gym a lot.

"It is not because I like it. It is something I needed to do because the English league is quicker and more physical."

Bulking up has not affected Hernandez's speed though.

He has turned into the perfect partner for Wayne Rooney due to his pace and willingness to run behind defenders.

That in turn allows Rooney more space in which to operate and is one of the major reasons why United are now starting to find their form.

And that, to Hernandez, is all that matters, irrespective of the goals he is netting on a regular basis.

"It has helped my confidence a lot to score so many goals," he said.

"But the most important thing for me has always been the results of the team. Goals are merely a consequence of the work everyone does.

"Of course I am very happy to score but if Manchester United win all their games, it doesn't matter who gets the goals."

With Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen all available, Sir Alex Ferguson is spoilt for choice with his striking options to face Bolton at Old Trafford.

The same cannot be said about United's defence.

Ferguson - absent from his club's Carrington training ground as his horse, What a Friend, ran in the prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup - is considering whether to rush Jonny Evans back from an ankle injury purely because he has only four other senior defenders available.

One of those, Fabio, will be required to play at right-back instead of his normal left, whilst Chris Smalling is being asked to assume additional responsibility despite, like Hernandez, not having a full season of first-team experience behind him with the Red Devils.

Bolton boss Owen Coyle believes Rooney's "football intelligence" means he could do a job for Manchester United in any number of positions.

The England striker has recently been deployed in a deeper role for United and won plaudits for how he has performed.

It has come as little surprise to Coyle, who sees Rooney as highly versatile and feels the 25-year-old's impact on matches when he is not scoring - three goals in the past five games has taken his tally for United this season to just nine - should not be underestimated.

"I think Wayne Rooney could probably play anywhere on the pitch because of his football intelligence," Coyle said.

"I know people are talking now and they seem to think that there has been a return to form, but if you watch Rooney, in every game, even if he is not scoring, he can still contribute.

"He is an unbelievable player and because he played from such a young age, he has a wealth of experience behind him as well for such a young man."

Rooney is just one of several attacking options Wanderers might have to contend with.

Coyle is under no illusions about the size of the task facing his team, although he wants them to meet the challenge by demonstrating their own ability going forward.

He said: "Rooney is one that we are going to have to be wary of, but if we sat here and analysed every one of them - Javier Hernandez is in unbelievable form, Dimitar Berbatov is an outstanding player, Nani and Antonio Valencia look to be back fit - they just have an array of talent.

"But that is why I want my players to go and show that they can play a little bit as well."

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Topics:
Football
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Manchester United

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