Javier Hernandez’s start to his United career has been so phenemomenal even the ABU media are forced to acknowledge his greatness.
Goals, enthusiasm and an extra dimension to United’s play have meant that the Mexican with the infectious smile and beguiling attitude has already become a firm fan’s favourite.
It wouldn’t surprise me if in the next few years the number of babies christened ‘Javier’ doesn’t massively increase such is the level of adulation Chicharito has inspired. I’m a firm believer in Chicharito and here at redflagflyinghigh we championed him as our player of the season- a poll run seems to indicate the vast majority of our visitors agree.
Can I dare to be a critical for one second, in fact it’s not even technically critical more an observation as to how a player who’s taken the club by storm may raise himself to an even higher level next season.
Chicharito’s goal scoring is obviously excellent, he’s the sort of finisher that leaves defenders and goalkeepers completely dumfounded. It’s not just his finishing but the timing of his runs is also near faultless. I’ve yet to see a striker who seems able to time his runs so perfectly and even the times he’s caught offside are often open to debate.
The one facet of his game- or several facets if you will that could be improved is his all round play, his ability to hold up the ball and bring others isn’t at the same standard as his striking prowess. Now before you all either click off the article or start writing an abusive comment, allow me to reiterate, I’m not having a dig at the lad, merely pointing out how he could elevate himself even further.
I’ve no doubt Sir Alex Ferguson will have picked up on the areas needed to develop in Chicharito’s game and be looking forward to unleashing an even better forward on the footballing world next season.
The reason I feel it may be neccesary to try and work on Chicharito’s all round play is more or less due to the role he seems destined to fill. A near lone striker role with Rooney often so deep he’s practically a midfielder. Chicharito is great at getting behind the defenders and latching on to through balls with his perfectly timed runs, or even whipped in crosses with his superb movement which always seems to create space.
If the Mexican could also hold the ball up a little better and be able bring in the other attacking players a tad easier than he does at the moment, then we could well be in utter dreamland next season.
One man Chicharito could learn a thing or two from is Andy -or should that be Andrew- Cole. Why Cole? I hear you cry.
Cole’s a United legend of that there’s little doubt but he’s not the automatic name that springs to mind when you think of Chicharito comparisons- that seems to be almost exclusively Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.
The reason I think Cole could become the perfect player for Chicharito to emulate is because he’s one of the few out and out goal poachers who developed -some woud argue drastically changed- his game for the benefit of the team, without sacrificing his goals.
Let’s not forget Cole arrived at Old Trafford with the near ridiculous record of 55 goals in 70 games for Newcastle. I remember vividly getting home from school and thinking the Manchester Evening News must’ve made some sort of mistake when I saw the front page.
Cole had been having a somewhat barren spell in his latter days at Newcastle having not scored for a couple of months- although he still had one goal in two games for the season. Yet there was no doubt that he was a truly gfted goalscorer a once in a generation type of player. Cole managed a highly respectable 12 goals in 18 games for the Reds but was chastised somewhat for not getting a crucial winner at West Ham that would’ve given United the title.
Despite this the 1995/96 season looked set to be a great one for Cole especially with the return or a certain Frenchman. It wasn’t the success it should have been for Cole though who managed a disappointing 13 goals, although he did help United lift the double. 1996/97 saw Cole endure some difficult times once more not least with an horrific injury sustained during a reserve game against Neil Ruddock which left him with a double leg break.
Cole recovered though and was able to help United to our second successive title. Something then seemed to gradually happen to Cole, in the following season he rediscovered his true goalscoring form yet seemed to have devloped more as a player. 25 goals in all competitions showed he knew where the back of the net was, but his link up play and willingness to hold the ball up improved markedly.
The pinnacle of this improvement was the 1998/99 season as Cole formed one of the deadliest strike forces in United’s history with Dwight Yorketo sweep the Reds to the coveted treble.
The following season saw Cole regain his status from Yorke as United’s top scorer as he won his fourth title in five years and also racked up the assists.
Its worth noting that when Cole retired he not only had 187 goals to his name but also 127 assists -a record bettered only by Dennis Bergkamp and Ryan Giggs from open play.
Cole came to United as ‘just’ a goal poacher, a quick predator with the ability to get in behind defences and finish with almost any part of his body. Chicharito has similar triats.
Cole then developed his game to fit into a United side that contained the likes of Cantona, Giggs, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Solskjaer and Sheringham. A team where everyone chipped in with goals and the entire front six were all capable of finding the back of the net.
Cole has ever quite recieved the recognition from the British media that his acheivements deserve, the whole -erroneous- “he needs five chances to score one” statement from ‘rent-a-ludicrous quote’ Glenn Hoddle didn’t do him any favours. It’s funny how when the then England boss claimed Michael Owen wasn’t a natural goalscorer or that not taking Eileen Drury to the World Cup was his biggest mistake his comments were laughed at, yet when he commented on Cole people seemed to take note.
Yet despite his detractors those who watched Cole week in week out during the nineties and early noughties saw him develop from a player that had one real asset to his game- albeit a very useful one- to someone who could link up with his team mates, hold the ball up and find a killer pass as well as anyone on the pitch.
Chicharito may well be being touted as the next Solskjaer but if he were to develop into the next Andy Cole, I for one wouldn’t be complaining and I doubt his team mates would either.