There wouldn’t be too many people who could tell you a lot about Manchester United new boy Javier Hernandez before the kick off of the World Cup, but is Hernandez, or “Chicharito” as he is nicknamed, destined to be a hit at Old Trafford?
Completing the signing of the young Mexican striker before the World Cup began, United were adamant they had captured a rising talent for a bargain price, and with a number of impressive World Cup and pre-season performances, Hernandez looks promising.
Even before the World Cup began, Sir Alex Ferguson was full of praise for his new signing from Mexico.
“He’s got lots of good qualities – he’s two-footed, very quick and has a good spring, and he’s a natural goalscorer. We’re very excited about him and hope he has a great career at Old Trafford”
So with the backing of his new manager, Hernandez went into the World Cup with every Manchester United fan eager to see what their new signing could do, and he didn’t disappoint. He scored his first World Cup goal for Mexico in a 2-0 win against France, impressively springing the offside trap and rounding the onrushing goalkeeper to side foot the ball into the back of the net, earning himself man of the match accolades for his troubles. He then added a second World Cup goal to his tally against Argentina, smashing the ball into the roof of the net after deliciously turning centre back Martin Demichelis.
I was definitely one of those fans who watched each Mexico game with anticipation, waiting to see what the new boy at Old Trafford could do, and on the back of his World Cup exploits, I know I was certainly beginning to wonder whether Manchester United really had unearthed a gem of a player.
Following the World Cup came the news that Hernandez would meet his new Manchester United teammates on their American tour. Once again I’m sure United fans were eager with anticipation, this time to see the boy who had impressed with Mexico at the World Cup pull on the red of Manchester United for the first time, and he did so against the MLS All-Stars, coming on as a substitute. From there, it didn’t take long for Hernandez to make an impact, timing his run to perfection to slip in behind the All-Stars defence and calmly lob the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper to score a brilliant goal. A goal on his United debut, it doesn’t get much better than that!
Two days after making his United debut, he lined up for his old club Chivas de Guadalajara against United, scoring the first goal of the match after just eight minutes with a well placed left footed strike from 20 yards out that sizzled past a diving Tomaz Kuszczak. Switching sides at half time, he was unable to produce the same magic in a United shirt, but nevertheless, he continued to show why Sir Alex spoke so highly of him when he signed for the club, and now he had definitely caught the eye of every Manchester United fan.
But there was more to come from the boy they call Chicharito. Coming on as a second half substitute against Airtricity League XI, it took mere seconds for him to show why he really is someone to watch this upcoming English Premier League season. 90 seconds into the second half, Valencia was the architect on the right as he fired a low ball into the penalty area, with Hernandez in the right place to meet it first time and fire the ball into the roof of the net past a helpless goalkeeper. Another game and another goal from the Mexican, and he’s certainly got me looking forward to his Premier League debut this season.
So in the space of a few months, he’s gone from relatively unknown outside of his native Mexico, to the boy whose name is on every United fans lips at the moment. But is he really the next big thing, or is it all just hype?
He has most definitely impressed at the World Cup and in pre-season matches and based on his performances, he boasts a number of talents that could see him flourish into a real match winner at Old Trafford. One would hope that based on his pre-season showings, Hernandez definitely has the ability to make the cut at United, his ability to strike the ball is impeccable and he is extremely quick, being able to get in behind a teams defence and spring the offside trap.
I for one think there is something about this boy from Mexico, but I’ll reserve my judgement until I see a few more performances in the Red of United. The real test will be whether he can deliver consistent performances in the United shirt for the entire season. Who knows, he could even start to put pressure on Berbatov for a place in the starting XI when United play with two men upfront. But we need to remember he’s only 22, although if what we have seen from young Chicharito in pre-season is anything to go by, he definitely looks like a top young player.