Rarely have I seen a player make such an impressive debut for a club than the one I saw Wednesday night when Javier Hernandez came on as a second half substitute for Manchester United against the MLS All Star team. I’ve seen him play for Mexico before, but all of his skills were crystalized before my eyes in an incredible 30 minutes of action.
Simply said: This. Man. Is. Amazing.
Hernandez (aka Chicharito) possesses pace and skill that is far beyond the average Premier League footballer. He is a gifted two-footed player who is a natural goalscorer. And on top of that, he can launch blistering attacks that will definitely rip apart weaker defenses. This is, by far, the player I’m most looking forward to watching this upcoming Premier League season. The prospect of seeing him lining up alongside Wayne Rooney and seeing them create a goalscoring partnership is mouthwatering and I’m not even a Manchester United supporter.
The last time I saw a player make such an impression on me was when Wayne Rooney scored a sensational goal against Arsenal after the 16-year-old came on as a substitute. That was eight years ago. In between 2002 and now, I’ve seen plenty of players come and go, but no one has been close to the promise that Hernandez shows.
When he arrives in England and begins playing there, he’ll need to adapt to a different culture and lifestyle. And a much different style of play on the soccer pitch. But I’m hoping he can keep himself focused on doing what he does best, which is on the field.
Thinking back, Chicharito’s debut for Manchester United was far more impressive than that of one Cristiano Ronaldo. When the Portugese wizard began for United, he made an immediate impression but it was a combination of wonderful skills but with all of those silly stepover moves. Ronaldo, at the time, was also guilty of having a poor final cross. Over time, Ferguson and his coaching staff turned Ronaldo into a more complete footballer and Ronaldo’s stepover moves – for the most part – vanished.
But with Chicharito you have a player who is already more advanced than what Ronaldo was when he joined United. Plus Chicharito has already proven himself in the World Cup when he scored two goals for Mexico. Interestingly, he was clocked as the fastest player during the entire tournament.
If you want to see for yourself how gifted Chicharito is and how much he means to Mexico, watch Manchester United’s game tonight against Hernandez’s former team C.D. Guadalajara on ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.com at 10pm ET. The game was organized as part of the transfer deal that saw Chicharito move to United in April. This is going to be a wonderful game to see how well Hernandez plays on his home turf in front of a crowd of approximately 45,000. Plus, it’s the first game to be played at Chivas’s brand-new stadium, so expect a carnival atmosphere on a hot and humid night in Mexico.
If you missed his performance Wednesday night against the MLS All-Star team, here are the highlights on video: