After Manchester United’s debilitating loss to West Brom this weekend, much has rightly been said about the awful display defensively. And yeah, I appreciate why. Rio Ferdinand was especially culpable after being nut-megged in both the lead up to Morgan Amalfitano’s opener and when the promising Saido Berahino smashed in the winner from the edge of the box. Jeez, it was really quite embarrassing for Rio; his legs were wider than Katie Price’s after a few Bacardi Breezers and then some, again suggesting that, as he approaches his 35th birthday, it’s time to begin phasing him out of the starting XI. It was an all round shocker and another miserable day for David Moyes in his thus far underwhelming reign; the Chosen One at least chose a more adventurous line up but to no avail, with an impressively energetic Albion notching up their first away win at Old Trafford since 1978. (Coincidentally, on that day Boney M were number 1 in the charts and Moyes himself was playing youth team football in Iceland – yeah, it’s been a while...)
One of the more impressive displays (there weren’t many of them) from a player in a United shirt came from Chicharito, bundled into the team due to Van Persie’s difficulty in overcoming his recent injury niggle. Hernandez was bright, eager and selfless as always and, even if he wasn’t able to provide a telling contribution in his area of expertise, the penalty area, this was due to the faults of the creative players whose job it is to facilitate opportunities for him to score. Against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup earlier this week, Hernandez’s deft, improvised volley provided the only goal of the game and his movement was lethal. This is a player who, when played, scores goals. Quite a simple assessment of a footballer’s overall ability you might think, but Hernandez is an old-fashioned sort of striker who thrives on being in the right place at the right time. Despite recent tactical upheavals in the football world, poachers such as Hernandez will always be in vogue. Which is why it’s quite curious that United continue to undervalue the hardworking and consistently effective little Mexican.
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With Rooney and Van Persie in the team, you could argue that it’s easy to overlook Hernandez and pigeonhole him as an Ole Gunnar Solskjaer esque impact player – which admittedly he’s very adept at being – but this demeans Hernandez’s wealth of talent. Since his 2010 arrival, Hernandez has a goals per game ratio of 0.42, which is vastly superior to Danny Welbeck’s paltry return of 0.2 during the same period. Yes, Welbeck is a valuable team player, but so is Hernandez. Choosing to play Welbeck over his Mexican teammate is like going out for a drive in your reliable, though unspectacular Nissan Micra when you have a squeaky clean, freshly polished Aston Martin gathering dust in the garage. Hernandez’s goalscoring exploits are only narrowly inferior to Rooney’s and Van Persie’s since 2010 and, considering how more than half of his appearances for United have been as a substitute, the Little Pea’s brilliance comes even more sharply into focus.
Hernandez is direct, selfless, innately deadly in the box and is probably yet to reach his peak at 25. Other teams will look to take advantage of Manchester United’s inability to give him a regular starting berth; after all, Valencia made an approach this summer, only for Hernandez to doggedly refuse to give up on his United adventure as he seeks to cement his place in the first XI. His dedication and attitude speaks volumes for the way he conducts himself as a human being; indeed, it’s not gone unnoticed by the Old Trafford faithful, who appreciate his genuine value to the team.
As the doomsayers descend on Old Trafford and the Twitterati continue to keep #moyesout trending, it’s easy as a United fan to let other equally important issues pass you by. Vidic and Ferdinand are struggling as the years catch up with them; our midfield continues to look the worst of any of the main title contenders and Ashley Young’s career change from international winger to professional platform diver is pretty troubling. But I would like to point out to David Moyes and the United hierarchy that it’d be dangerous and unprofessional of them to continually overlook the excellence of one of their most professional players. Javier Hernandez, you’re terrific and don’t worry pal, we appreciate you. Keep plugging away and, hopefully, you’ll get that starting spot that you so richly deserve.
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