By: Gemma Thompson
Javier Hernandez is set to start Saturday’s FA Cup fifth round tie against Crawley Town even though Sir Alex believes the best way to use the Mexican striker at the moment is as an impact player off the bench.
Chicharito has been a revelation since signing for the Reds last summer and has already netted 11 goals.
Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov remain Sir Alex’s first choice pairing, but Chicharito has certainly given the manager food for thought following his goalscoring exploits. And while he has been a starter in a number of the Reds’ cup games this season, Sir Alex believes the 20-year-old provides a great option from the bench.
“Possibly at this moment in time [he’s better at coming off the bench than starting]. He’s a great impact player,” explained the manager.
“It was the same with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. When I was picking teams in really important games I always tended to dismiss Ole simply because, as an impact player as a sub, there was nobody better. And sometimes you have to pick your team that way particularly in difficult games. If you know it’s going to be tight being able to bring an impact player on can make a difference.
“Chicharito’s training performances have improved tremendously in the last couple of months,” he added. “His work-rate and practice ethic have been very good. He comes in early and stays behind. He’s done very well in that sense and is improving all the time.”
Keeping his front men happy is a juggling act Sir Alex is more than used to having had to manage a similar situation in 1999.
“It’s not easy, but it’s the type of problem I had in ’99 with Cole, Yorke, Sheringham and Solskjaer,” he added.
“Those four were different class and it was about trying to choose the right games when you wanted to rest or leave players out.
“Chicharito is still young and learning all the time. Having him as a sub is a fantastic back-up, you know he can make an impact. And Michael Owen is the same. So it’s a similar situation.”