Javier Hernandez has admitted that he left Manchester United in the summer because he did not want to settle for a role as a back-up player.
Louis van Gaal deemed Hernandez surplus to requirements and sold him to Bayer Leverkusen in a deal worth £7.3m.
The Mexican has since flourished at the Bundesliga club, scoring 21 goals in 24 appearances, leading to criticism of van Gaal’s decision to let go of him. Hernandez insisted it was time to think of himself when he made the move.
“If the coach had told me I would be his No.1 striker, I would never have left. But I wanted to play,” Hernandez said.
“I looked for the team for three years. I focused on being there, on working, on being a good team-mate, on being ready. [It was the time] to look for myself, to look at my own goals. The fans wanted me to stay, but they wanted me to stay as a back-up. I did not want to wait any more.
“It is easy to say you don’t want to train, to tweet or put a picture on Instagram because you are not playing, to fight with a manager. The easy path is for people who don’t care. Some people fight in a bad way but that is not how I see the world. It is harder to be professional, to be patient, but that is what I like.
“You have to swallow it. You have to keep working even without something coming. You have to be quiet even when you feel like shouting.”
It was the wrong decision to let Hernandez leave but, on a personal level, you can’t blame him for moving on.
He is clearly too talented to be sat on the substitute’s bench and leaving Old Trafford has paid off for him spectacularly. The whole ordeal has not reflected well on van Gaal, with the likes of Angel di Maria, too, flourishing since leaving United.