This season has turned to be a bittersweet seesaw game for the former Guadalajara poacher. Despite having an impressive goal-to-minutes-played ratio, the Mexican currently happens to be at the bottom of the rung with Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck all being preferred over him.
So what makes Sir Alex Ferguson bench the player who is so convincing with his goal return?
Javier Hernandez presents a stark juxtaposes when compared to his strike colleagues. Wayne Rooney likes to drop deep and conduct the orchestra as a pseudo playmaker. Van Persie has that exquisite touch that allows him to bring others into play. Welbeck likes to stretch out at times to complement the wingers.
Javier Hernandez meanwhile is a completely different package. He is not someone who will track back a lot or someone who will execute the sniper’s pass. Instead he is a pickpocket and a poacher - someone who will linger near the goalmouth sniffing opportunities. His limited work rate allows him to be a much more lethal presence in the box where his instincts help United snatch crucial points.
This is the reason why he has been used in a super-sub role - having that ability to spurt moments of brilliance. Not being involved heavily in the build up play allows him to look for pockets of space and gauge the opponent’s defence line as evident in his display against Chelsea.
His effectiveness as a super-sub has enabled Manchester United to mount comebacks against Newcastle and Aston Villa. Hernandez’s contribution has been vastly underrated this season and Ferguson knows how valuable he is for the team. But for him to continue making a career as a penalty box assassin, he must be consistent with his finishing as even a single chance missed will raise eyebrows in the critic box.
Blessed with searing pace, Hernandez can add another dimension to his play by drifting out on to the wings and whipping in crosses or allowing the wingers and full backs some added degree of freedom.
For all the goals he has, Hernandez could have easily found himself in the starting XI of any other Premier League club. But the plethora of excellent strikers Manchester United have at their disposal has smothered any avenue of opportunity.
Should he decide to leave, Hernandez will find no lack of suitors. However, neither the player nor the manager has shown any willingness to part ways with each other. For Manchester United, this can only be a good thing. With his current aptitude he can etch his name into the Manchester United folklore the way Ole Gunner Solskjaer did but Hernandez will no doubt aspire to rise above that.
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