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Why Chicharito Should Win PFA Young Player of Year Award

Photo by AtilaTheHun

Last week the nominees for the PFA Young Player of the Year were announced.  That list includes such names as Jack Wilshere, Seamus Coleman, Joe Hart, and Gareth Bale.  This list sparked quite a debate on the EPL Talk website as every fan has an opinion on who should win. But while all those players are certainly worthy, the player that most deserves this award is Javier Hernandez.

Looking back to the beginning of the season, Chicharito was a relative unknown to the football world outside of Mexico.  He performed well during the World Cup, but there were very little expectations for him at Old Trafford during his initial season.  Not only has he exceeded those meager expectations; Hernandez has become a vital goal scoring cog in the Red Devil championship run.

To me, this is where Chicharito’s candidacy separates from the rest of those nominated.   Off the pitch, Hernandez has had to face many hurdles that the others have not.  First, he is playing thousands of miles away from home for the first time in his career.  Along with that, he has had to face a different culture, language, and food, all those things that a person has to confront when living in a new country.  There have been countless of other young players that have wilted in the face of such obstacles.  On the pitch, Chicharito has had to adjust to a drastic change in style of play than what he has been use to.  It is fair to say that the physicality and speed of the Premiere League is a night and day difference to what he faced when playing for Guadalajara in the Mexican League.

Even while facing those challenges, Hernandez has played extremely well for United.  During the early part of the season when Wayne Rooney struggled, Chicharito provided a scoring spark that allowed the Red Devils to go undefeated in the Premiere League through January. Hernandez’s pace forces other teams to prepare differently for United than in previous seasons.  Once back into form, Hernandez’s goal poaching ability allowed Rooney to be utilized as facilitator and playmaker.

The knock on Hernandez is that he has not put in the minutes that footballers like Wilshere and Hart have.  While it is true Hernandez did not get much playing time early in the season, a lot of that has to be attributed to the system that Alex Ferguson employs.  Ferguson often will ease a younger player, especially one in his first season, into the rigors of the English football season.  Also, with Ferguson’s ever changing line-ups, outside of veterans like Vidic and Evra, there aren’t many players that see their names regularly on the squad sheet.  More importantly, what says more about a player’s value to a team’s success?  The amount of playing time that he gets early in a season or how much time he gets at the end of the season when the matches matter the most?  This is important to keep in mind as Hernandez has found himself playing major minutes in matches against Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool in the last months of the Premiere League season.

Again, all the players nominated for Young PFA are excellent choices.  Hart has played in goal for a top four club.  Wilshere has been indispensable for a strong Arsenal squad.  But to me, Chicharito has provided a valuable scoring punch for a championship side while overcoming many hurdles that the rest of the candidates have not.

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  1. pelamela

    October 27, 2011 at 4:27 am

    Aguero is better than chicharoto

  2. Dr G

    June 10, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    To displace the league’s top scorer in your debut season with the champions is just amazing. There have been more established stars that have failed to adapt to the english game.

    As mentioned, I think Jack Wilshere will probably win, but then again personal honors are all arsenal players can dream of these days.

  3. tomy

    May 18, 2011 at 9:46 am

    ha ha !!!

  4. omar morales

    May 12, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    i think he is yhe best mexican scorer and one of the best in man.united

  5. vipe23

    May 7, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Chicharito should win it…

  6. MennoDaddy

    April 17, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Huh. Even several Spurs fans I know think it’s pretty ludicrous that Bale won the PFA.

    I love Welsh Jesus. But come on. The PFA? Really?

  7. cristina

    April 17, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Ok he didn’t win the award it’s fine. But I think that when he makes the difference in Manchester United’s victory in the Champions League you will see how important and great this little guy is.

    If he would had started the game in the FA Cup Manu will be in the Final by now. That is how important he is.

    It’s Ok Chicharito you are still the best.

  8. Mike mcd

    April 15, 2011 at 8:42 am

    The award is for PL games only.
    As a winger, Bale’s primary role is to assist.
    In the PL Bale has 1 assist.
    So does Van Der Sar.

    Bale is a player with great potential and if an award for ‘best individual CL performance’ was needed, he would be a candidate.

    The theory that Gareth Bale has been the best player this year shows what a tremendous effect the media have on the thoughts of the people.

  9. JC

    April 14, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Chicharito by a mile (err…Kilometer? 🙂 )

    I’m surprised it’s even considered debatable. He should also be PFA signing of the year” …if there was such an award. It’s really shocking (to me at least) he turned out to be this good.

  10. neolinkf

    April 14, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Dan, that’s ridiculous

  11. Dan

    April 14, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    In an alternate universe, where Hernandez gives Fergie a nipple twist for preferring Berbatov every week, Pardew would undo the wrongs of Souness and co in one fell swoop and buy the boy, he’s stellar, and deserves the award.

    But then again, having your nickname ‘Chicharito’ on the back is a bit like Lampard having ‘Frank the Tank’ on his kit. Almost on a par with Balottellis Wallace and Gromit hat or Carrolls pony tail in the nob jockey stakes. Don’t mention the Spiderman mask.

    • El Tri 2014

      April 14, 2011 at 9:36 pm

      Okay, that’s the post of the thread! Move aside King Kenny and allow King Dan his rightfull place.

  12. El Tri 2014

    April 14, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Earlier in the season, I would have said the Welsh Messiah but injuries have rendered him so-so. Would be nice to see a larger picture of what Bale could do if he was healthy.

    Jack Wilshere will win the Young PFA, he had an impact from the start of the season, and is cut from English cloth. However…

    if the vote was taken today, you have to vote El Chicharito. He has made a high level of positive impact at this stage for his team. Would have been sugar plums for Jack if Arsenal won the Carling. Just more feathers on a hat but alas it was not to be.

  13. Guy

    April 14, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Neutral on Man Utd, but not on Chicharito. He’s the one.

  14. terry

    April 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Chicarito won’t win it because he was not always the first choice for United’s attack. He has now become the first choice striker but wasn’t an automatic selection for much of the season. Bale is an automatic selection for Spurs in every game if he is healthy. That’s why I think Bale will win it. Without Chicarito United are still as good a team as without him because there are others who can fill the void. Not so for Spurs without Bale which is why Bale will win it.

    We’ll have to wait and see who the players choose. Do opposing players fear Chicarito more than Bale? I don’t think so which is why I think the Bale will be the players’ choice.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      April 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm

      Again, another who believes media hype and “being first choice.” 🙄

      Bale had a good couple months from August to November/December. Since then he has been unable to live up to this new standard and has been rather inefficient (possibly due to injury but nonetheless).

      Bale: 37 appearances, 11 goals, 4 assists
      Nani: 39 appearances, 10 goals, 17 assists
      Chicharito: 37 appearances, 18 goals, 1 assist

      Regardless of who starts for whom and how often, you have to look at the quality they bring to the table. Bale had two good games this season: Inter and Inter. Rafael from Manchester United had him in his pocket for two games.

      Nani is a starter at United with better stats than Bale and they play in the same position, but I guess the media hype did not mention this 🙄

      • MennoDaddy

        April 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm

        Well, to be fair, Bale’s assist tally would be a lot higher this season if Spurs had any strikers worth a damn. It kills me to see so many beautiful Bale crosses get dinked wide due to poor finishing.

        • [OPTI]Madschester United

          April 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm

          So would every players’ stats… if only…

    • Jeff

      April 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm

      @ terry. This is Bale’s sixth season in the EPL. Count them, six. Chicharito is a young player playing his debut season in England and he has benched the league’s top scorer even taking into consideration the adaptation period that most players require when moving to a new league.
      I’m sure you’re one of the commentators that come out of the woodwork when a foreign player fails and points out how the EPL is a league only suited for the best players. Well, Chicharito is on his way to be one of the very best and has established his credentials on his debut season to be the Young Player of the year.

    • JLay

      April 14, 2011 at 9:55 pm

      Sorry, but Bale would be a super sub too if he played for United…

      I don’t understand why you feel that Hernandez should be penalized for playing less and producing more, particularly when he’s at a bigger, better, and much deeper club. The fact that a first-year youngster sniffs the field at all at a club like United is an accomplishment in itself.

      You may be a Spurs fan, but objectively you must realize that both Nani AND Chicharito are better players than Bale is.

  15. jimbob

    April 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    yeah the game Hart had against tottenham was ridiculous …

  16. Dakota

    April 14, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Ya I gotta say I completely agree too. He has been absolutely vital this season. I mean its for sure those other players are great too, each coming with their own set of skills and personality with the ball and on the field. I think that it would be great if Hernandez gets it, he definitely deserves it.

  17. andyinva

    April 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    i hate the little twerp decides to perform his religous ritual on the half way line

    isnt religion supposed to be personal, not in front of 60,000 people

    he can play a bit though

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      April 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm

      Give me a player that does not in some way refer to God when they score or win… obviously God is helping players win games 🙄

    • tonyspeed

      April 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      Yes, yours is the common bigoted anti-religion attitude of the modern generation. But in my opinion, it is no better than racism.

    • Jeff

      April 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      What has his religion got to do with it? He is from a country that is 97% catholic and was brought up very conservatively. Its his own thing. Lots of players have different rituals, for example Landon Donovan when he takes a PK. Why don’t you comment on the fact that he always gives his best, he doesn’t flop around, is willing to sacrifice himself in plays to get down and get the ball (see goal that was ruled-off against Chelsea), doesn’t celebrate goals like a moron (he’s just genuinely happy to have scored), isn’t involved in scandals and who’s work ethic is earning him the praise of greats like Giggs and Scholes.
      You’re just a wonk who wants to discredit a person for any stupid reason.

  18. Bucky

    April 14, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Another article from your United perspective. He has been a good signing. But Young PFA of the year? He hasnt been involved in enough matches.

    Wilshere is the clear winner. He has started in premiership, CL, Carling Cup, and FA Cup games this year. 42 appearances this season. He is a starter for his club. How can you say that a substitute has been a bigger player than a boy that is a starter?

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      April 14, 2011 at 11:52 am

      Bleh. Poor argument — he hasn’t played enough games?

      Wilshere: 42 appearances (38 starts)
      Chicharito: 37 appearances (20 starts) + 18 goals.

      Chicharito is clearly doing more for United than Wilshere is at Arsenal…

      • Earl Reed

        April 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm

        It’s always funny to see someone point out another person’s poor argument, then proceed to make one of their own.

        I think there’s some saying about apples and oranges that applies here.

      • nicc

        April 14, 2011 at 1:41 pm

        “Chicharito is clearly doing more for United than Wilshere is at Arsenal…”

        I would certainly hope Chicharito is scoring more than Wilshere considering Chicharito is a striker and the Wilshere is playing a defensive midfield position…

        • [OPTI]Madschester United

          April 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm

          I said “doing” you said “scoring” … nice twisting of my words.

          see below. Wilshere is good but he DOES not make Arsenal move beyond their annual March collapse; while Chicharito just put United in the ECL Semis and top of the league.

          • nicc

            April 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm

            “I said “doing” you said “scoring” … nice twisting of my words.”

            you’re right, I was the one who explicitly brought up the “18 goals” Chicharito scored this season. oh wait…

    • Earl Reed

      April 14, 2011 at 12:02 pm

      And I will also add…Hernandez plays with perhaps the best group of playmakers in the league. He’s basically a poacher, and poachers score lots of goals.

      He has been a good find and a player who bridged a gap at ManUtd when Rooney was struggling and Berbatov was scoring in lumps instead of a steady stream.

      From the standpoint of prolonged success, Joe Hart should probably receive the award. I remember the opening match against Tottenham where he earned his team a nil-nil point when they had no business getting anything.

      I think it should come down to Hart or Nani.

      • [OPTI]Madschester United

        April 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm

        Reed, my arguments were not based purely on goal scoring but rather impact and games won.

        Here’s my argument:
        When United needed help to win games (in both EPL and Champions League), Chicharito stepped up with some sublime movement and finishing. You are discrediting him when you say he is “just” a poacher. Watch him as he times his runs, follows the last defender and can score with any part of his body – even against physical opponents. He even put the EPL Top Scorer on the bench (Berbatov) and against Blackpool replaced Rooney (and scored). Massive Impact This Season.

        When Arsenal needed that extra bit to WIN A GAME (be it against Barcelonas or Blackburns), I did not see Wilshere help them across the finish line. He may start more games and he may have had a good game against Barca at the Emirates, but his impact on Arsenal have left them in no different a position from last year: ZERO trophies. He is a good player but he did not impact Arsenal to move beyond their usual disappointing end of a season.

        Nani should be winning the PFA Player of the Year (not the Young award) and it is a joke he is considered for this award.

        • Bucky

          April 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm

          So, Chicharito is a very good boy off of the bench. He has been a great signing. Just think someone who starts 38 games is more important than a sub. He has an impact for 90 minutes. Again, I am not saying your boy isnt having a very good season.

          I do not think anyone is really that deserving of the Senior award this season.

          • [OPTI]Madschester United

            April 14, 2011 at 11:37 pm

            So are Clichy, Chris Samba, and Dawson more important than Chicharito?

            It’s not about the number of minutes or a diluted impact (read: Wilshere) but EVERY TIME Chicharito is given the chance, he puts on a performance that wins United (read: top club) games and trophies. Because of his role, this performance is measured in goals while Wilshere’s performance in 0-0 game against blackburn and Arsenal’s 0-shots on target against Barcelona shows the diluted impact he has for Arsenal.

            Sure Wilshere is exciting (b/c he’s 19) but he has NOT lifted Arsenal beyond the last couple of seasons with his OVERALL performance for the team. Chicharito has helped United to the top of the EPL and into the semi-final of the Champions League.

            On a good day, Wilshere may kiss the boots of Chicharito 😛

  19. DeeRexBox

    April 14, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I’m an Arsenal supporter, to be clear. And yes…Chicharito is clearly the young player of the year. I’d LOVE to say Jack Wilshere, who has played marvelously for the Gunners, but when it comes to winning games for Arsenal, he hasn’t done that. Chicharito has. Though Bale has had a great season too, he’s really slowed down a lot since the beginning of the season…Wilshere and Hernandez have not.

  20. spot

    April 14, 2011 at 11:21 am

    If he was British he would have been nominated, plain and simple. Maaaybe if he was European he would have been nominated, too, but honestly I doubt it. They love giving the PFA Young Player to a Brit. I mean, Seamus Coleman? It’s a joke. And anyone who says it’s because he didn’t play enough games/mins is fooling themselves. That’s nonsense. It’s not quantity, it’s quality that wins the award.

  21. farlieonfootie

    April 14, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Wholeheartedly agree. Chicharito should win, but probably won’t, because there’s a huge bias in the English press toward the London-based teams…. Wilshere and Bale have both had great years, but as you point out, much of Bale’s spectacular season occurred in the Champions League — and he’s been kind of quiet of late (much of it due to injury). Wilshere has looked stronger and stronger as the season progressed, but look at his stats: they pale in comparison to Chicha’s. Samir Nasri has had a bright season, as well, but it seems to have stalled a bit of late, while Chicharito keeps getting better. Coleman’s been stellar, as has Joe Hart in goal for City, but neither has made the kind of impact that the young Mexican has. In fact, the main threat to Chicharito for the award should really come from his own teammate, Nani. The mere fact that Nani is up for this award, though, and was overlooked for the PFA Player of the Year award, is a total joke, so I won’t include him in the analysis…. All in all, I agree — and have been banging the drum about Chicharito on my website since I first laid eyes on him last July.

    • Anonymous

      April 14, 2011 at 11:19 am

      PFA = Professional Footballers’ Association, hence, it is the footballers themselves who vote on the award and not the London-biased press as you call it. Sure, the press has some influence but the players collectively vote on it. They are the ones on the pitch and in the stands.

  22. tommysunshine

    April 14, 2011 at 10:55 am

    I am a Spurs supporter but I am starting to get sick and tired of these so-called spurs fans who keep banging on about ‘taxi for maicon’. It’s actually very unfair to the Inter Milan defender: Bale would have punished anyone that night.

    When I first started following spurs, you would find something extra special about the White Hart Lane faithful. Businessmen and bohemians would happily mix with the lower classes- captains of industry, men of letters and a smattering of the educated proletariat all in a harmonius alliance.

    By way of illustration, I would advise everyone to look at the 1984 UEFA Cup win against Anderlecht on YouTube and the crowd’s reaction to Danny Thomas missing a penalty. It brings tears to my eyes every time.

    Now I think our fans are becoming just like the rest, though we are less delusional and more realistic than the Emirates rabble down the road. Taxi for Maicon? How about we offer him a ride home and extend our sympathies for the way Bale destroyed him. MenoDaddy, that is the Spurs way.

    • MennoDaddy

      April 14, 2011 at 11:00 am

      Oh, come now. It’s a backhanded compliment, but certainly still a compliment. Maicon is (still, rightfully) considered the best RB in the world. The way Bale picked him apart in those two ties were all that more impressive considering how incredibly good Maicon is. Those were two masterful offensive performances by Bale. It doesn’t diminish Maicon much for Spurs fans to remember those performances with pride.

    • whorms

      April 14, 2011 at 2:11 pm

      bale is good but very overated and he would not done that to every right back only the ones in age or who is slow rafeal had him his in pocket when man u played tottenham at old trafford

  23. MennoDaddy

    April 14, 2011 at 10:42 am

    As a Spurs fan, let me be the first one to say…

    that I agree.

    Chicharito has been absolutely stellar this season. I think he deserves it. Bale’s the odds-on favorite, but while he’s proved himself in Champions League (Taxi for Maicon, anyone?) he’s actually underperformed to expectations in the league. Part of it is injuries, part of it is that teams have figured out how to keep him in check. But Hernandez has been a breath of fresh air this season.

    To put it another way, this kid has managed to keep Berbatov, the leading scorer in the EPL, to a bench role. Yeah, he deserves the award.

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