Hernández wins plaudits and trust



Javier Hernández’ emergence from unknown, to Sir Alex Ferguson’s leading striker could take a limited Manchester United side to ever great heights and – perhaps crucially – bring out the best in Wayne Rooney too. The Mexican’s transformation from impact substitute to first choice in recent games says much for the 22-year-old’s rapid development. It’s progress that could win United the Premier League title and take the Reds to the Champions League latter stages.

Hernández’ brace against Marseille on Tuesday night won United a game that could easily have slipped away. Indeed, had the former Chivas striker been on the French side’s books, the Reds could well now be out of the Champions League. Crucial misses from André-Pierre Gignac and Loïc Rémy spared Ferguson’s blushes on a night when injuries and inconsistency almost proved calamitous.

Hernández’ well taken double proved the difference though. The Mexican’s first after five minutes calmed United’s nerves; the second with a quarter-hour remaining effectively won Ferguson’s side a match in which the hosts were never in complete control. Neither goals taxed the forward’s skill-set perhaps – both close-range strikes – but Hernández’ movement proved crucial, offering a static United midfield consistent options.

The performance drew praise from Ferguson, who resisted the temptation to recall this season’s top-scorer Dimitar Berabtov. Indeed, the Scot expressed delight at the Mexican’s rapid development in the nine months since his arrival in England, and confidence in the growing partnership with Rooney.

“We are surprised,” said Ferguson.

“When we bought him we thought it’d take him time to adjust. He has adjusted to the physical part very well and is lasting 90 minutes.”

“It [partnership with Rooney] has been developing well. Where Wayne has been playing in the past couple of games he is a real threat. He has such power and speed and Hernández is unbelievable with his movement. The boy has goals in him.”

The Mexican’s goals – 15 in all competition, to Berbatov’s 20 – have also relieved the burden on Rooney. If United relied too heavily on the Scouser last season, then the former Evertonian’s troubles in recent months have also demonstrated the wealth of Ferguson’s options in attack. Hernández has taken his chance in spectacular style.

Moreover, the Mexican’s emergence has freed Rooney to take up a deeper position in which the 25-year-old can affect the game in a more creative way. After all, with Paul Scholes’ ageing legs no longer able to carry the 36-year-old through games, United has lacked a certain ‘stardust’ in midfield, to paraphrase beaten coach Didier Deschamps.

While 34 goals in all competitions last season was an immense return for United’s £27 million striker, the change in position arguable hamstrung Rooney’s creative side. No longer so, with Rooney dropping deep and Hernández providing the focul point to United’s attack Ferguson can play a traditional 4-4-2, knowing the Scouser can drop into midfield when required. The change also enables United to take advantage of the Mexican’s blistering pace.

Rooney can also see the benefits of the growing partnership, which has helped United’s star player return to some semblance of form in recent weeks.

“He’s a fantastic player,” Rooney told BBC Radio 5 live after Tuesday’s victory.

“He’s in good form, it’s nice to see him scoring and nice to play with him. He always tries to stay on the shoulder, looks in behind and he’s a quick player. By making those runs in behind defenders it creates a bit more space for you in front of them.

“So it’s working well at the minute. He’s been fantastic and works so hard as well. He wants to improve and it’s good to see.”

Hernández’ gain is Berbatov’s loss of course. The Bulgarian’s patchy form – streaks of goalscoring, followed by long barren periods – has hardly helped the former Tottenham Hotspur striker. Neither has Ferguson’s consistent tinkering with his role though. Now 30, Berbatov joined United having lead the line at each of his former clubs only to be deployed in a deeper role at Old Trafford. Then, finally consistently chosen as a ‘number nine’ this season, the Bulgarian has struggled to maintain a regular place in United’s side.

It places the Bulgarian in an interesting position, with his four-year contract due to run out in June 2012. Other United players in a similar position – Patrice Evra, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Nemanja Vidic – have each signed new deals with the club. While speculation was widespread in February that an announcement could be imminent, there is no ink on a new deal.

That is no concern to Hernández of course, for whom United paid just £8 million up front with staggered performance payments to come. Whatever the final total, Hernández has proven a bargain and is likely to be rewarded with a bumper new contract well ahead of schedule. Few could deny the Mexican the reward for his significant impact at United.

In the meantime Hernández’ goals, if they continue to flow, could take a less-than-stellar United side to both the Premier League title and further in Europe than some predicted.

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  • Mongoletsi

    We’re actually saying Taggart’s got something right? ;o)

  • han

    feel sorry for berba
    his time will come for sure again in the next few games
    hernandez is pretty special though
    quick off the mark and plays the game with a big smile
    and he isnt afraid to mix it with hard defenders either

  • triggs

    Draw Shakhtar/Schalke, then an English team in the semis and I’d fancy us to make the final.
    Draw Barca/Inter/Real and we’re screwed.
    We had a lucky draw last year – Bayern then Lyon – so I don’t expect us to get lucky again.

    • Jeet

      I wouldn’t mind Inter actually. If our first choice back 4 is available, I would trust them to handle Sneidjer-Eto. Their defence looks slow. If they try to maintain a high line against us, like they did with Barca, Chicha-Nani-Valencia could bloody murder them. Maicon is getting old, and not that good defensively. I cant believe that Lucio has regressed so much – just goes to show what a good manager can do.

  • triggs

    han said:
    feel sorry for berba
    his time will come for sure again in the next few games
    hernandez is pretty special though
    quick off the mark and plays the game with a big smile
    and he isnt afraid to mix it with hard defenders either

    Yep, I think Rooney is due to get crocked again, so Berba is gonna have to step up.

  • Steve

    I actually thought Carrick did pretty well last night. I have criticised him a few times on here, but lots of blocks and interceptions and a decent all round game last night. One of the big questions however is, what has happened to Wes Brown? He was shambolic last night and you can see that it influenced Smalling. Real shame, Brown was a top drawer defender for a time, not any more unfortunately.

  • han

    brown hasnt played 1st team football for ages hence the fact that he is all at sea when pressed – smalling is still learning and needs rio or vidic alongside
    carrick may need to play in defence this weekend if injuries don’t start to clear up

    • Steve

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Vidic played this weekend. I agree with what you say about Smalling, he is absolutely a better player with Vida alongside him.

  • triggs

    Ed – I hear you on 5live!

  • Alfonso Bedoya

    I think some are getting a bit carried away about Chico… he’s quick, and a decent finisher, but his all round game is ordinary.

    He’s definitely got his uses, but tactically, I think he’s got some limitations.

    Rooney is a full box of tools… Chico is a hammer…

    • mel

      I agree with you, he does have some limitations. when he is one on one with a defender, he hardly ever beats them. it’s really his movement that sets him apart.

    • eddieTheRed

      Chicarita’s weak point is that he is not good at holding up the ball and playing in his team – mates; Berbatov is excellent at this; give Chica time to learn and he will become a more rounded – out player.

  • ravi

    Can’t wait for hernandez to start banging in Valencia’s crosses!

  • triggs

    Hey, it’s not happened until Lawro says it’s happened.

  • Bill

    I thought we’d get to the QFs but no further at the start of the season. I’d say we are the 5th team most likely to win it, so the draw will be vital. If we get Spurs, Valencia or Donesk i’d expect us to progress – if its the other 4 I think we are going out.

  • Alfonso Bedoya

    Valencia’s out… I think you mean Schalke.

    Anyway… I’d be happy with any but Barca or Real.

  • Ashish

    Chicharito has done exceptionally well.

    Hats off to you and your performances this season.

    And it is evident that Chico’s link up play is much more better than Berba’s.

    His quick movement and chemistry with his team mates makes him a really formidable cog in our armoury.

  • Brown

    The boy is improving daily. I love his enthusiasm for the game. The partnership between him and Rooney is blossoming really well, i just hope it continues. Keep it up ‘lil pea’, ithink you are something special.

  • http://www.sourceofgravity.com Bill

    Ah yes I meant Schalke.

    I would rank the teams as follows:

    Barcelona
    Madrid
    Inter
    Chelsea
    United
    Spurs
    Schalke
    Donesk

    Could do with some luck if we are to progress. For this team QF is about par i think.

    • http://www.unitedrant.co.uk/forum/profile/admin Ed

      Bill – I’d say Donesk a lot better than that. You’re ranking them on reputation not results. 7/8 wins in the Champions League this season. Absolutely hammered Roma. Team full of Brazilians. They’re no mugs for sure.

  • Twisted blood

    The notion that Rooney is the new Scholes–that creative midfield spark that can give us 20 goals a season seems to be catching fire and I like it. So if it’s Rooney settled there with Ando as a backup, Rodwell to come this summer for the Keane/Hargreaves midfield steel, Young to compete for left wing and Henderson as one for the future, will that satisfy the calls for spending the fans demand without bringing in a big name? I personally would rather see that kind of a 60-70 million quid spree rather than a Kaka-Sneideresque buy that puts all the eggs in one basket. This sum would of course also include the keeper. Maybe it’s a pipe dream to even dream of such a spend but if so. I’d be bullish on all fronts next season for sure. Who knows? If Fletch returns from the mystery virus and we go 4-2-3-1 with Fletch and Ando/Michelle Carrick behind a Nani, Rooney, Tony V. 3 supporting Little Pea, who says we can’t reach the CL final? Come on you Reds!!!

    • Victor

      ‘Michelle’ Carrick. Lol, nice.

  • Ashish

    I have a very strange feeling about Chelsea in the CL.

    In theory,Barca are the most difficult team we could play while Shakhtar the easiest.

    In decreasing order of difficulty level the teams could look something like this:

    Barca
    Chelsea
    Madrid
    Spurs
    Inter
    Schalke
    Shakhtar

  • http://www.newhallmedialtd.com Calvino

    Alfonso Bedoya said:
    I think some are getting a bit carried away about Chico… he’s quick, and a decent finisher, but his all round game is ordinary.

    He’s definitely got his uses, but tactically, I think he’s got some limitations.

    Rooney is a full box of tools… Chico is a hammer…

    Frankly, when we have Nani, Valencia and Rooney, what do I want “an all-round game” from Chicharito for? What I want from him is to be able to move into the spaces that will get him goals. He has to improve in a few areas but you can see that he has the natural ability. I still consider that goal at the Mestalla sensational: the first touch to control and take it past the defender and the second to despatch it into the bottom corner was just out of this world. All with the left foot too.

  • http://www.newhallmedialtd.com Calvino

    I think we will get Madrid or Barca. Most likely Madrid. If we do I would not watch either leg. Can’t bear to watch Ronaldo playing against us.

  • GazNo77

    I’d sooner play a team like Barca or Chelsea than a Spurs or a Madrid – their pace can really worry whatever back 4 we have available, especially considering the news on injuries from Fergie today. A tie with Barca or Chelsea is one which I can imagine being cagey, where we might grind out a win.

  • http://www.unitedrant.co.uk/members/danniitronix/ danniitronix

    Ferdinand possibly out for rest of reason, ffs.

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    hes doing alright but it’s all rooney really, rooneys the best in the world off the striker, ive said it for four years, fergies costs us four years of watching rooney doing what hes best at

  • Dinkinflicker

    danniitronix said:
    Ferdinand possibly out for rest of reason, ffs.

    After getting injured in a bloody warm up! Ridiculous. He’s another who’s best days are behind him.

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    hes not the new scholes hes the old rooney

  • Alfonso Bedoya

    Calvino said:
    Frankly, when we have Nani, Valencia and Rooney, what do I want “an all-round game” from Chicharito for? What I want from him is to be able to move into the spaces that will get him goals. He has to improve in a few areas but you can see that he has the natural ability. I still consider that goal at the Mestalla sensational: the first touch to control and take it past the defender and the second to despatch it into the bottom corner was just out of this world. All with the left foot too.

    I understand what you’re saying Cal… I said as much, when I called him a good finisher with pace… very useful… but if that’s his only contribution, then he can be planned for… a player with more skills offers more options, like bringing Rooney into the attack… as it is, Chico feeds off Rooney very well, but it’s mostly all one way… his passing game isn’t very good…

    I’m just saying that I think some people are going over the top with their praise… he’s got good pace and movement, and finishes well… but he’s no Ruud or Ole…

  • http://www.unitedrant.co.uk/members/danniitronix/ danniitronix

    Alfonso Bedoya said:
    I understand what you’re saying Cal… I said as much, when I called him a good finisher with pace… very useful… but if that’s his only contribution, then he can be planned for… a player with more skills offers more options, like bringing Rooney into the attack… as it is, Chico feeds off Rooney very well, but it’s mostly all one way… his passing game isn’t very good…

    I’m just saying that I think some people are going over the top with their praise… he’s got good pace and movement, and finishes well… but he’s no Ruud or Ole…

    ruud and ole

    <misty eyed>

  • brianofnazareth

    Calvino said:
    Frankly, when we have Nani, Valencia and Rooney, what do I want “an all-round game” from Chicharito for? What I want from him is to be able to move into the spaces that will get him goals. He has to improve in a few areas but you can see that he has the natural ability. I still consider that goal at the Mestalla sensational: the first touch to control and take it past the defender and the second to despatch it into the bottom corner was just out of this world. All with the left foot too.

    Absolutely argee with you Cal… he is the best finisher at United and could be the best since Van the man… I am really positive about Chico… he’s gong to become a goal scoring legend… just hope it’s for us and not Madrid!!

  • Ashish

    Alfonso,

    While I do understand your point of view what we must take into consideration is that even though he may not be very flashy,he’s still doing a striker’s job which is scoring goals.

    When we had someone like Ruud,many people were criticizing him because despite scoring bucketloads of goals,he had no skills and would just be the targetman.

    So surely the likes of Chico and Ruud are compensating for their lack of skills by scoring sackful of goals and that’s all we can ask from them can’t we?

  • Alfonso Bedoya

    “When we had someone like Ruud,many people were criticizing him because despite scoring bucketloads of goals,he had no skills and would just be the targetman.”
    Only knuckleheads said that… were you one of them?

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

    • Ashish

      I was the one defending Ruud towards the final stages of his Utd career while others were slagging him off.

  • http://www.sourceofgravity.com Bill

    Thanks Ed, no easy games left i think. Donesk could be the wild card in all of this. Wouldn’t want to play them in a 2nd leg at OT!

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    brianofnazareth said:
    Absolutely argee with you Cal… he is the best finisher at United and could be the best since Van the man… I am really positive about Chico… he’s gong to become a goal scoring legend… just hope it’s for us and not Madrid!!

    best finisher since ruud ffs whos the competition tevez saha and berbashite

  • brianofnazareth

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    best finisher since ruud ffs whos the competition tevez saha and berbashite

    Doesn’t matter who the competition is numb nuts… he is….

    Also if it were not for injuries Saha = United legend.

  • sheesh

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    best finisher since ruud ffs whos the competition tevez saha and berbashite

    Try the rest of the Premier League. He currently has the best goals per min record in Premier League history.

  • captainhormone

    sheesh said:
    Try the rest of the Premier League. He currently has the best goals per min record in Premier League history.

    wow

  • sidney

    He doesn’t get caught offside half as much as I thought he would

    Still a lot though

  • bman

    Hernandez is the new Saha – fast, mobile, good with his head and his feet. He’s a more reliable finisher than Saha actually. I’m very excited, as Saha was our best center forward over the past few years: Ruud was great but didn’t suit our new style, Tevez suited our style but never fucking scored. Hernandez could fit in very well.

  • http://twitter.com/dosdamt Ben Hulston

    Hernandez has some of the best movement I’ve seen in a forward for absolutely ages. He always seems to find space or the extra yard ahead of players and just seems to have an uncanny ability to finish, regardless of the pressure / knuckledragging CBs all over him. An absolute diamond of a player

  • http://www.unitedrant.co.uk/members/danniitronix/ danniitronix

    Anyone who disses Ruud = DIRTY CUNT. FACT.

  • captainhormone

    danniitronix said:
    Anyone who disses Ruud = DIRTY CUNT. FACT.

    lol…you’d know a thing or two about dirty cunts hey Danni…..especially with dat minge sponge of a beard.lol

    lolololol

    lololololololol,ol

    hahhaahahhaha

    lolosaurus mingey bearded cunt

  • http://www.unitedrant.co.uk/members/danniitronix/ danniitronix

    lol – it was man juice not minge drops btw

  • hugh o

    el chich is an awesome little player. he has an impact whenever he comes on the field. he has a desire to score, to win, he plays for the team. he is an example to whingers like anderson.

    sign him up for life – he is quick like rooney and their link up play is exciting, in some ways reminiscent of the ronnnie wazza duology from a few years back.

    but, valencia, once fully fit is the KEY!

    come on united. keep up the fight.

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    he reminds me of lineker except lineker never dived

  • sidney

    Lineker was great at falling down for no reason and making it look like the defender was actually trying to bum him on a football pitch

    Shearer n all, he bought fouls all over the place – usually from goalkicks

    So the lesson to young foreinger strikers is cheat in a mans way

  • sheesh

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    he reminds me of lineker except lineker never dived

    What a load of bollocks.

    1990 World Cup v Cameroon. He dived for England’s first penalty. Have you even seen his dive for the second penalty? It’s even more blatant.

    Open your eyes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AKvemfxx94 Find the dives in that link yourself.