Javier Hernandez, once again, is proving the critics wrong. It seems to be a theme of his young career.
After a rocky offseason and a start to the season that saw Hernandez nowhere to be found in Manchester United’s starting lineup, there he was already back on the field this weekend, doing what he always does -- scoring goals.
After the match, he was telling everyone how happy he is at Manchester. Of course that’s easy for him to say at this point, but the early returns seem to indicate Hernandez made a good choice by sticking it out at United instead of forcing a transfer after the Red Devils picked up Robin Van Persie to essentially take his spot alongside Wayne Rooney.
At worst, he’ll never be taken for a sour, ungrateful superstar whose only loyalty is to himself -- not that those types aren’t welcome at Old Trafford.
Of course what happens down the road could be another story, but for now what many thought might happen, did: One of Manchester's fragile strikers, in this case Wayne Rooney, went down, and Chicharito had a spot back.
It all looked pretty good against Wigan (of course against Wigan it always will for CH14). Despite a missed penalty, Hernandez made amends with one of his patented goals where the ball seems to find him on its route to the back of the net.
In fact, Hernandez’s Man Utd teammates seem to have become experts at bouncing the ball off Chicharito and into the net. Just the sight of the Mexican making a run into the box these days prompts any Red Devil to blast the ball toward the center of the box. Chances are Chicharito will get something on it, and direct it into the goal.
That’s not a knock on Chicharito. It’s sometimes unorthodox, but his method of finding the net is a skill that few have mastered like the Mexican hitman.
That’s probably also what’s got so many Mexican fans down on their star these days. While Chicharito’s quick resurgence in Manchester can be chalked up to hard work, perseverance and the extraordinary sense of destiny that has surrounded him since day one, some El Tri fans seem to have little time for Hernandez’s brand of soccer.
It turns out that many Mexico fans, understandably perhaps, prefer their goals of the spectacular type a Marco Fabian or Giovani Dos Santos can provide, rather than the workmanlike, close-range efforts Chicharito is an expert at coming up with.
But as much as Chicharito may sometimes lack for entertainment value, he gets the job done with more proficiency than just about any Mexican striker in history. Put Gio or Fabian in a Manchester United jersey and they would likely struggle to make an impact; put Hernandez out there and, well, the results have been plain to see for a couple seasons now.
Which brings us back to Mexico. Can Hernandez be as effective with El Tri as he is at the club level? The answer, given his goal haul, has always clearly been yes.
The challenge is not for Chicharito to score goals in a Mexico jersey -- he’s done it the past and will do it again, whenever the service is there.
The challenge is more for everyone to accept their superstar for what he is, and to rediscover an appreciation that was once universal acclaim for exactly what Chicharito does. It’s not always beautiful, but it’s effective enough to have brought him to, and kept him at, the top level of international club soccer.
Chicharito says that’s enough to make him happy. It should be enough for Mexican fans as well.
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