Sir Alex Ferguson believes Javier Hernandez’s third goal in as many days for Manchester United is proof the £7 million Mexican striker warrants his burgeoning reputation as the standard-bearer for Old Trafford’s future.
By Rory Smith
Hernandez, known as Chicharito, came off the bench to score an injury-time winner in United’s 3-2 Carling Cup victory against Wolves to take his tally to five goals in six games since moving to the Premier League side from Chivas Guadalajara during the summer.
Ferguson believes that impressive record is sufficient to warrant the praise being lavished on the 22-year-old forward at the start of his United career.
“We tend to build up heroes very quickly here,” said Ferguson. “But the boy is justifying the praise he is getting at the moment. He is such a great professional. He is first in and last out of training, his goal-scoring is getting a lot of credit and praise and quite rightly, too.
“But his composure, touch and control of the ball is improving. His vision is improving and that is down to the training [United are giving him. When he came on you just knew if he got a chance he would take it. He was absolutely brilliant, it was a magnificent goal. He dummied the defender really well, shaped to shoot and a great finish.”
It is telling for Ferguson that Hernandez has shot to prominence – he scored twice in the victory against Stoke on Sunday – in the week following the farrago over Wayne Rooney’s future, which centred largely on the England international’s apparent concern over United’s policy of signing emerging talent rather than established stars.
Ferguson stuck to his policy of blooding his developing players against Mick McCarthy’s side here – Ben Amos, Fabio, Chris Smalling, Bebe, Gabriel Obertan and Federico Macheda, while Hernandez and youth team prodigy Ravel Morrison appeared as substitutes – after admitting he sees the Carling Cup as the perfect opportunity to judge where he needs to strengthen his squad.
“Last season’s [Carling Cup] win was useful in our development strategy,” said the Scot in his programme notes. “It had an important bearing on my transfer policy during the summer. I was able to see how a number of the younger guys did playing in a tougher environment, and I was better able to assess whether I needed to bring in many new players.”
He insisted after the game that he had seen enough from his latest crop of hopefuls to convince him that the club’s future is in safe hands.
“I think the future for us is bright,” said the United manager. “I think everyone around the club is very positive about it. We work hard at producing young players and without doubt they are the foundation for our next team.”
Though his counterpart admitted he had feared the impact Hernandez would have on the game – “I saw him at Stoke, and even without his goals, his performance was terrific,” said McCarthy – it was a Wolves player, winger Matt Jarvis, who most impressed the Yorkshireman.
“I was sitting with [England general manager] Franco Baldini at Stoke and they think very highly of him” McCarthy added. “There are not too many wingers around at the moment who are playing any better than him.”