Not many players can click straight away in the Premiership and be a success. Some world-class players, despite previous success elsewhere at top European clubs sometimes can never adjust to the pace and demands of top-flight English Football.
Javier Hernandez or Chicharito, as he’s more commonly known to Manchester United and Mexico fans, is one such player who it seems was made for playing in England. His pace and skill matched with his great work ethic and personality have won over not just United fans but football fans in general across the country.
And what’s more than that, he’s got goals – which strikers are paid and brought into clubs to do. For someone his age and the fact he’s had no real pedigree other than goals in Mexico to go by, Chicharito has to be the signing of the season.
Why? Because quite simply £8million for a young world-class striker is actually priceless in today’s market. Especially when you consider that in today’s market there are young forwards such as Romelu Lukaku and Neymar who are likely to cost clubs the best part of £20-25 million, which is a heck to spend on unproven players.
There’s nothing wrong with Lukaku’s club Anderlecht and Neymar’s club Santos wanting such a huge amount of money in return for their talent, as had Chivas – Chicharito’s previous club – known how well their talent would have done this season, they would probably have upped his price as well.
So with that in mind, it shows you just how clever Sir Alex Ferguson was in getting the Mexican’s deal done before the World Cup, where no doubt ‘vultures’ would have pounced to try and get the forward.
That would have meant even if we had been able to sign him that because of how he impressed in South Africa, his price-tag would have been at least £10 million more.
Getting back on track, for any striker to score 20 goals in their first season is a tremendous achievement and amazingly Chichartio’s done that. We’ve all heard or read about how his form has surprised his team mates this year and even how Sir Alex has been shocked by how quickly he’s adapted at the club.
I can remember watching him at the World Cup and thinking that he looked a good prospect for the season and that he might be able to score 8-10 goals for us as he looked a natural finisher who would be a good option of the bench.
I think scoring early on for us helped and after he came of the back of a good pre-season, he grabbed the limelight in the Community Shield when he somehow managed to head in his own scuffed effort from close range. That goal helped him clearly and got him ‘over’ so to speak with the fans.
A nice late winner away in Valencia also set him up nicely in Europe as well and goals against West Brom and Stoke – including that back-header – made sure he hit the ground early on. Of course he’s never looked back scoring goals in all competitions for us with his last goal setting us on our way againgst Chelsea to that title-clinching win at Old Trafford.
Scoring important goals is something that the great strikers do. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer right from the start of the season is somebody who Chicharito has constantly been compared to, in that he seems to be in the right place at the right time.
That’s a great thing to have as a striker and despite obviously managers and coaches trying to install that in players, sometimes it can be an un-coachable trait in players, in that for some it just comes naturally to them.
I personally go with the opinion that Chicharito is almost a blend of Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen in that he matches Rooney’s heart, hunger and work ethic with the natural finishing of a young Owen in his prime.
Perhaps because of Chichartio’s father and grandfather’s history in the game, it’s helped that he’s come from a football family – but either way it doesn’t stop the fact that by being at United and learning under the top coaching staff we have that he cannot learn anything new and improve in other areas of his game.
United’s number 14 has had quite a season and what’s scary about him is that next season he can only get better. Yes opposition teams and players will now be more aware of him and he might possibly suffer a tad from ‘second season syndrome’ so to speak.
However good players can adapt to that and already in his career at United Chicharito has faced the odds and beaten them.
Who would have thought he’d have scored 20 goals for us in his first season, in which he’s grown to become one of the key members of the team who later in the season, when it came down to it had grown to become a regular starter ahead of Dimitar Berbatov? No-one would, not even the most bias or ambitious United fan.
It’s looking likely that Sir Alex will start Chicharito alongside Wayne Rooney in the Champions League final against Barcelona at Wembley. With Barcelona’s defence clearly being the weak-link in their team, it’s clear that pace and energy is the way to go against their defence which is not as solid on paper as ours.
Should everyone’s favourite Mexican play a part in us hopefully winning our fourth European Cup, it would be some way to finish what has been a quite fantastic first year at the club for him.
Who’s to say Chicharito does not have one more important goal left in him this season? You’d be a fool to think otherwise.
By Adam Dennehey – @ADennehey87