The 25-year-old Mexican striker who arrived at Old Trafford three years ago from his homeland has made an impact with the Red Devils in terms of his goals and performances yet remains something of a peripheral figure for the English champions.
Chicharito made his first start of the campaign on Wednesday for new manager David Moyes and scored his first goal of the season for the Red Devils. However, his inclusion in the starting line-up of the Capital One Cup was likely due to the groin injury suffered by Robin van Persie last week.
The Dutch ace may well not have featured anyway given his status in Moyes team but his injury means more rotation is necessary for the manager between Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Hernandez who, so far this term, seems to have slipped even further down the pecking order behind the English pair.
In Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season in charge at Old Trafford last term, Hernandez earned himself the reputation of a ‘supersub’ – he came off the bench five times to score a goal for United, he was a substitute on 14 separate occasions for Ferguson, and featured a total of 38 times. He scored 18 goals and made 8 assists in all competitions.
With arrival of Robin van Persie last summer, the Mexican saw a 21.5 per cent reduction in league appearances compared to the 2011/12 season, a 50 per cent reduction in league starts and he didn’t play a single league fixture last term for 90 minutes compared to the 7 occasions that was the case the previous season.
The youngster isn’t so young anymore, either – at 25 years old, he is coming into, ordinarily, what one would expect to be the most important and productive years of his career as a centre-forward, yet at present he can barely get his name on the team sheet, never mind playing week in week out and with the World Cup in Brazil just around the corner, his international career is as much in jeopardy as his club level career is.
Savage asserts that he is ‘wasted’ at Manchester United due to the abundance of quality options they have available and, subsequently, the number of options that block his path to regular first-team starts – he needs to be playing at the highest level to become the world class centre-forward he is undoubtedly capable of becoming but he needs to be pushing himself and testing himself against the best in the business for that to be made a reality.
If Chicharito were at any other club in the country and, perhaps even the world, he would be playing regular first-team football as a staring Xi centre-forward, he would be scoring more goals, improving his technique, his fitness, form and confidence along the road and he would be competing with the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Edinson Cavani, and Radamel Falcao who are all roughly around the same age as he is.
How can he possibly hope to score 25-plus goals a season (which I firmly believe he is capable of) if he’s not even getting 10 league starts a season? He can’t and he won’t unless there is a genuine intent of manager David Moyes to trust him, pick him and keep him there which, so far, looks unlikely to happen.