Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is not surprised by the impact Javier Hernandez has made on the Premier League, revealing the Mexico striker is a nightmare to mark even in training.
Hernandez, nicknamed Chicharito (Little Pea), stood in for the injured Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford on Tuesday night and opened the scoring with a smart finish as United beat Stoke 2-1 to maintain their unbeaten league run this term.
That makes it six goals in seven league games for the 22-year-old, who signed from Guadalajara last summer, leading to calls from some quarters he should keep his place even when Rooney returns from an ankle injury.
And Smalling, who deputised for the injured Rio Ferdinand, said: ‘Chicharito is dangerous. Even in six-a-sides during training he can be a nightmare to mark.
‘You have to keep your wits about you because he can come from left or right. He really deserved his goal.’
Smalling was also a summer arrival at Old Trafford and, while he knows he is second choice to Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, he is desperate to take every opportunity he is given.
After starting seven times earlier in the season, including four in the Champions League, Smalling has found his appearances restricted.
‘At the start of the season I got to play every other week but I haven’t had a game for the last few weeks,’ added the former Fulham youngster.
‘For the time being, it is all about concentration and consistency.
‘I know Vida and Rio are the first choices, I just have to make sure I do equally well when I come in, so I know I am playing my part.’