Everyone was raving about Javier Hernandez’s back-header against Stoke last month – but I’m still not convinced he meant it. I have a feeling Little Pea just had a large slice of luck. It reminded me of the goal Uwe Seeler scored for West Germany against England at the 1970 World Cup finals. He was lauded for netting in a very similar fashion past Peter Bonetti but, as far as I’m concerned, the ball just hit him on the back of the head!
That is not to take anything away from either player, though, because when it comes to centre-forwards there is only one thing that matters: Goals! I really didn’t care if they went flying in from 25 yards or they trickled over the line. Blimey, I remember scoring goals with my b******s just because I would throw myself at the ball trying to steer it in! Chicharito, as Fergie calls him, hasn’t resorted to that yet but he has certainly been a sensation for Sir Alex Ferguson over the past seven days.
He dug the club out of a huge hole with three goals in as many days against Stoke and Wolves. But being a natural goalscorer is harder than people realise. You see, the ability to hit the net every week is not something you can teach. And managers hate players they cannot coach. It frustrates them because they can’t tell you what to do. I was born to score but half the time I didn’t even know what I was doing!
Chicharito seems to have that same rare trait – so it is no wonder Wayne Rooney is looking so glum in Dubai. Roo will be worried right now because United have a new hero. The timing of Chicharito’s arrival on the scene at Old Trafford could not have been any better. However, the real test for the whizkid will come when these goals dry up.
Too many times we have seen great goalscorers fade away – Michael Owen is a great example of that. He used to score for fun but these days he’s lucky to get on the pitch and it seems that he’ll never play for England again. Chicharito can learn from a case like that. The most important thing is to stay ahead of the game and don’t try to conform.
Chicharito will have to study defenders. At times he will have to go missing for 20 minutes just to suss out the way the game is going. People will probably slate him at the time, accusing him of lacking desire and not pulling his weight. They did that to me enough times, believe me, but sometimes you have to sacrifice yourself. Become a sniper. You have to go to ground, make sure no one notices you, let the defender think he has the better of you. And then, just as they are feeling confident, ‘Bang’ you score a goal.
Chicharito is a raw talent and Alex just lets him get on with the job. He was the same with the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes – he didn’t try to mould their natural skill. At the other end of the scale I suspect Arsene Wenger stifles some of his players with Arsenal’s style. It’s like players move away from their natural game and try to pass the ball rather than shoot because they feel it is what their manager wants to see.
Fergie will be hoping Chicharito can become the new darling of Old Trafford. But now, for the first time, he is under real pressure and we’ll just have to wait and see if our Mexican friend is the real deal.