By Stuart Mathieson
Manchester United are sending Javier Hernandez on a month-long break to avoid burn-out after his marathon campaign finally ended on Saturday night with another winner’s medal.The Reds striker was instrumental for Mexico as they overturned the USA’s lead in Pasadena to win the Gold Cup final 4-2.
Twelve months ago today Old Trafford’s new £8m recruit was ending his World Cup with the Mexicans in South Africa.
They were beaten in Johannesburg in the last 16 against Argentina with Chicharito scoring in the 3-1 defeat.
He had a break before joining up with United on their 2010 US tour but since then it has been non-stop with 45 appearances for United in his debut term and 20 goals, plus internationals throughout the season for Mexico.
But he was delighted with the conclusion in Pasadena.
“We were consistent and we fought for the entire 90 minutes,” said Hernandez. “We were two down and that’s usually very difficult but thanks to God for this team, we found a way. It was great. I was happy because we won it.”
He won the tournament’s Golden Boot with seven goals as well as the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament award.
Hernandez will now have his well-earned break before joining up late again on this summer’s American tour with the Reds.
United are keen not to tire the sensation of the season but his off-field work at United’s Carrington training HQ has prepared him physically for the marathon job.
“I work really hard in Manchester,” Hernandez said. “I get up at 8am, I eat breakfast and I go to the training session where I work so hard and I do extra work in the gym. I was educated by my parents in that way.
“If you want something in your life, you have to work hard. I know football is a job, but I am enjoying it so much.”
He has bulked up in the last 12 months on Sir Alex Ferguson’s instructions.
United fitness coach Tony Strudwick and sports scientist Gary Walker worked closely to design a workout schedule, resulting in Hernandez adding several pounds of muscle.
His diet has also been tailored by United’s backroom staff to ensure he gets the right fuel.
On arrival, the striker was asked to compile a list of his favorite Mexican dishes, which were then adapted by club chefs to incorporate more nutrients and reduce fats.