With the actions of certain other Premier League players, it’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of the beautiful game. The gentleman player, who is truly just happy to be playing the sport he loves, is dying breed. This makes Javier Hernandez a very special character indeed.
The Manchester United hit-man has been a revelation since his arrival from Mexican giants Chivas Guadalajara in the summer of 2010, averaging a goal almost every other game. This statistic is even more remarkable considering 10, nearly 50%, of his strikes have come from the bench, making him joint second highest goal-scoring substitute at United, tied with Ryan Giggs.
We have seen a certain player in recent times unhappy to play a role for his club from the dugout, but this is not something that bothers Chicharito, who just wants to do his best for the team:
“I don’t care if I am on the bench,” he told the Guardian.
“Last year I was on the bench for a long time. I still got into the team at the end of the season. Every player in every team wants to play as many minutes as possible. It is the gaffer who has the answers.
“I don’t have the answer to what makes me effective as a substitute. In football you can always come up with a reason for anything, perhaps it is nothing more than having a little bit of luck. I just know if I play one minute, or 10, or 90, I try to play the same way. My mind is always to do my best and help my team.”
This role is one that favours the little Mexican, who’s predatory instincts and burst of pace make him a tiring defenders worst nightmare. This was evident the Red Devils 3-3 draw with Chelsea, where Hernandez arrived, from the bench, to nod in the equalising goal completing United’s comeback. This is not the first time that he has done this either, a similar state of affairs occurred at Anfield, as the marksman again came on to bury a fine header levelling the scores, and securing a vital point for his side.
Hernandez’s goals have earned Manchester United nine points this term. Along with single points gained at Anfield and Stamford Bridge, he netted the opener in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle and contributed with two goals against Everton and Swansea to secure both of the Manchester club’s 1-0 wins. Without those strikes United would be in third spot, behind Spurs, with next to no chance in the title race. This record is even more impressive considering the front-man has been battling injury thus far, and as a result has been unable to maintain a run in the side.
Hernandez now looks to be getting back to full fitness after having to endure a stop-start campaign so far, which can only serve as a benefit to everybody at Old Trafford, as they look to overhaul local rivals City in the race for the title.
“Sometimes football is going to give you good things. Sometimes it won’t. It is part of the game. I just want to enjoy it because I am living a dream to play for Manchester United.”
With their fox-in-the-box happy with life at the club, and getting back to full fitness just when it matters, who would bet against United securing yet another title. Hernandez’s outlook on the game is one that should be admired, particularly in time of big egos and schoolboy tantrums.