Predatory Javier Hernandez thinks inside the box
There is an ever-growing concern that the world’s most deadly predators, sharks and tigers for example, are at the brink of extinction but as endangered as they may be, they are still feared by many. As will eventually be the case for the man they call ‘Little Pea’, for he too represents a dying breed of his type. He is also a predator, but rather than lurking in a sunny savanna in North Africa, his preferred spot is somewhere in the 18 yard box.
The Old Trafford crowd witnessed a classic ‘striker’ performance from Javier Hernandez on Sunday against Stoke City, as he proved more than an able deputy in the absence of Wayne Rooney. There, he scored two goals which gave further confirmation of the talent possessed by the Mexican. And whilst doing so, he showed that Sir Alex Ferguson’s faith in buying players from the recommendation of his fine team of scouts, A-list or not, is the way forward.
Hernandez, or Chicharito, is the man of the moment. There is a notion that exports from across the pond fail to come to grips with the English game; and there are numerous examples to be taken from Manchester United such as Diego Forlan, Juan Sebastián Verón and Kléberson. However, let’s not discount two examples that put paid to that particular notion; Tim Howard and Antonio Valencia. We’ll wait and see if Hernandez could join that exclusive club but, for the moment, the omens look good.
Indeed, the best may yet to come and it comes as no surprise that he has been likened to Ole Solskjaer (although admittedly a bit early). The signs are pointing to something as such – five goals so far, four more than a certain Wayne Rooney has managed. He has a tendency to score crucial goals, like he did with Mexico against France in the World Cup, and repeated again in the red of United against both Valencia and Stoke. That strike against the Spanish outfit was impressive in particular – he had little room to manoeuvre, yet produced a clinical finish so late in a game that had looked to end a stalemate. It was a finish worthy of a place in the coaching manuals.
The opener against Stoke was rather special, too, a ‘backwards’ header that had left City’s goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen stunned, and dumbfounded, by the sheer audacity. None of Wayne Rooney’s 34 goals last season came from outside the box and with him otherwise focused on getting back to full fitness and regaining form, United will look elsewhere for an able deputy to act as an outlet for goals. Course, they’ll look no further than their Little Pea, who, in the last few weeks, has grown fast and developed a sweet scent for goals.