Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez may be behind Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney in the pecking order, but has Sir Alex Ferguson found himself a super-sub of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer proportions?
The Mexican, nicknamed ‘the little pea’, brought United back to life when he came on after 46 minutes to find his side 2-0 down within minutes of his substitution, to Aston Villa at Villa Park.
But his second-half hat-trick (although his second was contentiously given as Vlaar own goal) earned the visitors all three points – Villa willed surely feel robbed to have not taken anything from the game.
Chicharito has now scored 8 goals in all competitions, United’s second-best total behind van Persie’s 11.
Yet he has only started 6 games so far this term, just one in the Premier League, and has been utilized by Ferguson predominantly as a substitute – to devastating effect.
At the majority of other Premier League clubs the 24-year-old who now averages more than one goal per game would surely be the first name on the team-sheet but at league leaders United, that is seldom the case, where he finds himself making most of his appearances from the bench.
The ‘super-sub’ seems quite content to make brief appearances, leading some to compare him to United’s treble-winning substitute Solskjaer circa 1998/99. The Norwegian striker made 37 appearances and scored 18 goals in all competitions – mostly from the bench.
Solskjaer found himself a bit-part player, Ferguson preferring the partnership of Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole in the days when Ferguson claimed he had the four best strikers in the league – the three formers alongside Teddy Sherrngham.
And he may have found another complete strike-force set in van Persie, Rooney, Hernandez, and Danny Welbeck.
Many have named Solskjaer as the greatest substitute in English football history – he scored 17 of his 18 goals that season from the bench. But the way Chicharito is firing at the moment, he may find himself in contention for that title.