From Mexico to Manchester: Javier Hernandez’s rise to a Superstar

Javier Hernandez has been well worth his fee thus far for Manchester UnitedJavier Hernandez has wasted no time in making a name for himself at Old Trafford and his two goals in last night’s 2-1 victory over Marseille ensured that Manchester United’s treble aspirations remain intact as they progressed to the quarter final stage of the UEFA Champions League.

After the game Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was quick to praise the impact that Hernandez has made since joining from Mexican side Guadalajara in the summer. “We are surprised as when we bought him we thought it would take time for him to adjust” said Ferguson. “He has adjusted to the physical side very well and is lasting 90 minutes.” Since signing for Manchester United, Hernandez has scored an impressive 16 goals in 33 appearances for the club. Already he is starting to be compared to former United player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but while the Norwegian will always be remembered as a super-sub, Hernandez could well lead Manchester United’s forward line for years to come.

Born in Guadalajara, Hernandez came into a football family with both his father Javier Hernandez Gutierrez and grandfather Tomas Balcazar having played for the Mexican national side in two previous World Cups and having participated in the Mexican League. However, initially his father who was also a forward didn’t believe that his son would go on to become a pro. “I never thought he would actually make it as a professional. Then little by little he started maturing, and when he was about 15 we saw that change in him. When his goal was to become a professional we supported him, but it was up to him.”

It was at 15 when Hernandez signed his first professional contract at Guadalajara having first joined the club as a nine year old. However he spent most of his early seasons either being loaned out to Second Division teams or sitting on the bench and at one point he doubted whether football was the right thing for him. He thought about going back to school and making a living another way but his parents told him to be patient with football and wait for the opportunity to arise; Hernandez did and has not looked back since. In the 2009/10 season. Hernandez established himself as a rising star scoring 21 goals in 28 appearances.

Manchester United first received background knowledge of the young Mexican in October 2009. The club sent a scout to Mexico in December and the reports were positive. However, he was only young at the time so the club were going to wait before the made a move but they were forced to move fast when he came into the national team. There were fears that if he participated in the 2010 World Cup and did well then they may have faced a battle to sign him. The club sent chief scout Jim Lawlor to Mexico in February 2010 for three weeks and while he was there Hernandez scored in every game.

On April 8th 2010 Hernandez agreed a deal to sign for Manchester United but the talks were so secretive that even his grandfather and agent didn’t know. However, before everyone saw Hernandez in a United shirt, the World Cup was to take place and it was in South Africa where he announced himself onto the big stage. Having signed for Manchester United, there were a lot of people interested to see how Hernandez fared on football’s biggest stage. He didn’t disappoint. He was arguably Mexico’s star player at the World Cup and scored two goals including coming off the bench to seal a historic 2-0 victory over France with a cool finish.

After his performances at the World Cup, Manchester United fans were understandably very excited when Hernandez made his professional debut in the Community Shield game against Chelsea. It didn’t take long for the little Mexican to make an impact as he scored United’s second goal in their 3-1 victory. Hernandez has since scored some vital goals for the club including a late winner at Valencia and the equalising goal in Manchester United’s 3-2 victory at Blackpool. He has already shown himself to be a natural finisher and has a tremendous leap for someone that is just 5ft 9. His pace but especially his movement have already caused numerous opposition defences problems and last night Marseille simply didn’t track his runs into the box which enabled him to slot in the two goals that saw United through.

Hernandez will undoubtedly become a key part of the Manchester United team in the near future. When you consider that he thought about quitting football only two years ago, this has been some turnaround by the Mexican sensation.