Javier Hernandez has made a blistering start to his career with Manchester United, scoring 6 goals in 12 games, and displaying much of the natural talent that convinced Sir Alex Ferguson to spend £7 million on bringing him to the club before the World Cup. Can he become the next legendary figure to grace Old Trafford?
Manchester United have many things in common with the English monarchy. Many would say Sir Alex Ferguson would have made a good monarch in the days when you still had some power. And like the monarchy, at United they often herald the footballing equivalent of ‘the king is dead, long live the king.’ From Best to Law, and from Cantona to Rooney, the next king of Old Trafford is never far away. And no sooner had Wayne Rooney somehow managed to make himself look like Emile Heskey reincarnated, than Javier Hernandez seized his crown.
For an unproven youngster from a country such as Mexico, with a tradition of producing nimble, small and technically gifted players who struggle in Europe, Hernandez has adapted remarkably well. His athleticism and physique have enabled him to compete with the most brutal of Premier League defences, and his technical qualities haven’t gone unnoticed either. His goal against Stoke with the back of his head was of unprecedented brilliance – who else would have even thought of that, let alone both tried and executed it? And like most brilliant footballers, Hernandez’ success owes much to his father, also named Javier.
So dedicated is father Hernandez, also known as Chicaro (big pea), that he quit his job as manager of Chivas’ reserve side to watch his son in South Africa this summer, commenting that ‘work is secondary.’ Now, he has moved to Manchester with his son, and this is typical of a football mad family that have done their all for Javier.
Manchester United have a lot to thank his family for. Just over a year and a half ago, Chicarito doubted he could make it and was considering going back to study full time, only to be persuaded otherwise by his father.
Not just strong and technically gifted, he is intelligent too, and this is something his grandfather spotted, commenting that “He makes diagonal runs and he’s not bothered if he gets the ball or not because he leaves a team-mate free by taking the markers away.”
It is this natural intelligence combined with his other assets that make Chicarito such an exciting talent. He burst onto the world scene this summer with a goal in the defeat of France, though his side were unfortunate to lose at the second round stage to Argentina. Already with 11 goals in 20 games for Mexico, he, alongside others such as Andrés Guardado and Carlos Vela are the leading lights in a promising generation of Mexicans.
If his start at Manchester United is anything to go by, he could become a leading star of the Premiership for years to come. In just a few weeks, he has displayed a maturity of one twice as old, a rare thing in one so young. And he doesn’t appear to be as easily taken in by the money as his peers; he does not drink, neither does he smoke, and according to his grandfather, he doesn’t even go out to the cinema sometimes, and is more interested in coming home, eating and going to sleep. With a run of goals displaying his range of talent, he has caught the imagination of the United fans, who need something to cheer. There is a vacancy for a goalscoring, flamboyant hero at Old Trafford and Chicarito has the name and the talent to take it.