After a stuttering start to his campaign with Manchester United, the international break should have offered some welcome relief for Javier Hernandez.
But anyone who has followed Mexico’s most recent qualifying campaign will have known this to be unlikely, as El Tri have been nothing short of atrocious as of late. They can still qualify (somehow) for Brazil 2014 via a playoff, but that was no thanks to Hernandez, who is usually a talismanic figure for his country. The United star missed an open goal from six yards out (below), and his frustration was further compounded after picking up a caution that will see him suspended for the first leg of the crucial World Cup playoff.
Chicharito is out of form, no doubt. And with Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck currently more favorable forward options in the eyes of club manager David Moyes, opportunities to play himself out of this rut look as though they’ll be few and far between in the short term.
The Mexican is a popular figure at Old Trafford and his passion for United is unashamedly obvious. But at this juncture, Hernandez’s best option is to seek pastures new.
Chicharito suspended on yellows for 1st leg vs New Zealand–might be addition by subtraction at this point.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) October 16, 2013
It is a shame really, because on arrival in England, Hernandez looked like he was set to shine at United for years to come.
Many predicted the sleight, untried and inexperienced signing from Chivas Guadalajara would take at least one campaign to become acclimatised to the Premier League. But he impressed straight away, and performed to a level far beyond what was initially expected. He formed a superb partnership with Wayne Rooney in the latter stages of his maiden campaign and played himself into the United first XI for the 2011 Champions League final. He scored twenty goals for the club in his first season.
Naturally, expectations were that he would build on a fine debut year, but his star has since faded. An injury blemished the start to his second campaign, and the Mexican struggled to oust Danny Welbeck from the side after United started 2011/12 in red-hot form. He’s never quite been able to establish himself back in the side since then.
He has excelled coming off the bench as of late – only Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has scored more goals as a substitute for United – but no player wants to be branded a ‘super-sub’ or perhaps even worse, an ‘impact player’. Goalscorers like Hernandez want to be on the pitch as much as possible, sticking the ball in the back of the net.