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Hernandez – The beginnings of a global superstar

by Sam Peoples

Hernandez and his pre-match ritual of prayer. Photo: Reuters Photos

Few players have had such an incredibly swift rise to global fame in the fashion that Hernandez has had this season. When the signing of Javier Hernandez was announced before the start of the 2010 World Cup, his name was anonymous to the majority of United fans. United had been scouting the Mexican since 2009 and were forced into an early purchase of Hernandez due to the fact that the World Cup was coming round. A deal was struck for a fee of £7 million and in a season where ludicrous sums such as £50 million were splashed out on players, the quality of the signing becomes ever more apparent.

It did not take long for Hernandez to show United fans what he would bringing to the hallowed turf of Old Trafford as he individually had a great World Cup, showcasing his eye for goal and lightning quick movement which saw him recorded as the fastest player at the World Cup. His goal against Argentina was to be only the beginnings of what would be a ferocious scoring year for the “Little Pea”.


Nobody could of anticipated what the next 12 months would have done to the stock of Hernandez but few would complain. He scored his first goal in England on his debut against Chelsea in the Community Shield, albeit a deflection off of his own head (they all count) and United fans were instantly celebrating the goalscoring capabilities of Chicharito.

Hernandez scores the winner against Valencia. Photo: Getty Images

For me, my first great memory came with his goal against Valencia in the Champions League. At the time, I was in Bangkok in a bar full of ladyboys at 4am screaming at the television as Hernandez came off the bench to give United a invaluable 1-0 win away against Valencia. I couldn’t believe such an inexperienced player could have the poise and composure to finish such an important chance, especially considering it was with his left foot. The season was just an upward spiral from then on for Hernandez as he found the sort of consistency that players strive their whole careers to try and find. Over the course of the season, he scored such memorable goals as the backwards header against Stoke and the brace against Marseille that saw United go through to the semi-final of the Champions League.[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ipOONnhUWI]

In a season where Dimitar Berbatov rose to claim the Golden Boot of the Premier League, Hernandez simply outshone the Bulgarian. His desire to score goals, his passion on the pitch and his unrelenting energy made him a necessary starter and he was rewarded by being given a starting place against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League Final.

Hernandez got his hands on the coveted Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year Award after a spectacular debut season

In his opening season in a United shirt, Hernandez managed to score 20 goals in 45 appearances and became the first striker at Manchester United to score 20 goals in his debut season since Ruud Van Nistelrooy way back in 2001. If that is not an omen, I don’t know what is. Hernandez was recognised for his efforts as he was placed on the shortlist for PFA Player of the Year and despite losing out to Jack Wilshere, it was just a testament to the vigour of his efforts being recognised by the wider footballing world. Internally, the fans made sure that Javier knew he had won their hearts over as he won the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award at the Manchester United Player Awards ceremony.

Mexico has not had an internationally renowned player since Hugo Sanchez but a star has been born in Javier Hernandez. Comparable to Inzaghi for his ability to take goalscoring chances, United found a real gem here. Rumours suggest that Hernandez has been rewarded with a bumper pay rise to £75,000 a week to fend off the vultures at Madrid and I hope they are true. He has the capability of leaving a true lasting legacy behind him at United and he brings out the best in Wayne Rooney, what more can you want from a strike partner? I hope that this summer transfer window will see SAF bring in the creative midfielder that will fill the hole left by the outstanding Paul Scholes, as it will allow Rooney to drift further up the pitch and back to his goalscoring position. Image Hernandez can get his 20 goals against next season and Rooney can fire in another 34…the dreams are already starting for us fans next season but they are already well underway for the Manchester Mexican.


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