Javier Hernandez believes that he was never given a chance to impress at Manchester United and Real Madrid.
Hernandez spent five years at Man United between 2010 and 2015 but he made more appearances from the bench than in the starting XI despite enjoying an excellent goals return.
During a loan spell at Madrid in the 2014/15 season, Hernandez also struggled to force his way into the side, making just 23 La Liga outings, 16 as a substitute. But the Mexican has developed into one of the deadliest strikers in Europe since moving to Bayern Leverkusen last summer, scoring 17 times in the league.
“If I’d had more chances at United or Real, I’d probably have been ‘the star’ there as well – we’ll never know,” Hernandez said.
“I didn’t have the chance. I never had the chance to play 20 games in a row so people could say: ‘He’s a good player who should stay’ or ‘He can’t be the star – he’s not a good player’.
“Ask the United fans. The numbers are there. I started only 85 games at United and I scored 60 goals [in total]. At Real, I started just 12 games and scored nine goals. At Leverkusen I’ve started 37 games and I have 26 goals. The difference is that Leverkusen want me on the pitch. The others didn’t.”
Hernandez’s finishing ability was never in doubt but it was his all-round contribution, or lack of, which concerned managers such as Louis van Gaal.
The Mexican needed a team built around him and he looks like he has got that at Leverkusen.
United will look back on the episode with regret but there was a silver lining to the affair as Hernandez’s absence from the squad meant Marcus Rashford was given a chance to shine during the 2015/16 campaign.