Javier Hernandez Has Role to Play at Manchester United After Rejecting Valencia

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2013

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - MAY 19:  Javier Hernandez of Manchester United celebrates as he scores their fifth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns on May 19, 2013 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez has reportedly turned down a move to La Liga side Valencia to try to win his place in the Manchester United team, and the Mexican attacker can make a good claim to having the right reasons for doing so.

David McDonnell of Mirror Football quotes Hernandez's agent as confirming that Hernandez was offered the chance to talk to the Spanish club, but that he was only focused on staying at United to help them defend the Premier League title and have a greater impact in the Champions League this season.

It's not a question of money - we didn't even talk about that subject, there's only one subject for Javier: he wants to play and be a starter at United. 

He knows it's a very competitive club and that he has to fight to play every day, in the dressing room and on the training ground, but he's not scared, he says he's more motivated than ever. 

Now, with the new manager, he has a lot of hopes, a big desire to play and to grow as a footballer. This season is a new challenge for him.

Hernandez has already proved himself to be a good striker in the Premier League and, though he isn't a first-choice starter right now, there are still plenty of reasons to suggest he could have an impact on United's team this year.


Hernandez in 2012-13

Last term, Hernandez managed 10 goals in his 22 Premier League appearances, as well as adding another eight goals in the cup competitions United competed in.

With the league being the team's mainand most frequentcompetition, though, it would have been a disappointment to the Mexican striker to only play the full 90 minutes on four occasions. He came off the bench 13 times in total—but seven of those was to feature for 15 minutes or less. In total, Hernandez played just 953 minutes in the Premier League, meaning he averaged a goal around every 95 minutes.

Sustain that as a regular starter over the whole season and there'd be no doubt, Hernandez would be United's main striker—but that accolade goes to Golden Boot winner Robin van Persie, of course.


Where does he fit this year?

United haven't altered their striking options with the introduction of David Moyes as boss, so the quartet remains Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Hernandez himself.

Speculation continues over Rooney's future, with The Guardian reporting United's stance is that he is not for sale, despite interest from Chelsea, but for now it appears Hernandez is fourth-choice for the new manager.

However, United have different kinds of forwards in their ranks, and Hernandez is certainly the most predator-like of the quartet, a player who loves to find space in crowded areas, glance headers in ahead of bigger defenders and be that one chance, one goal striker when United need it most.

Especially initially this season, he's likely to play a significant part off the bench with sporadic starts once more, but it doesn't have to be that way all year. 


Why he's right to want to stay

Hernandez initially looked as though he would form a good partnership with Van Persie, but Danny Welbeck's improvement in his almost-all-round game means United have another striker now, aside from Hernandez, who can run in behind defences and work the channels.

In backing a forward to score a late equaliser or winner, most fans would plump for the Mexican over the Englishman every time, which is why he's often turned to when United are chasing a late goal. Even if he doesn't get it himself, such is his reputation as a goal poacher that he will naturally occupy the attention of defenders, perhaps leaving space for a team-mate to steal in and score.

For that reason alone he'll continue to get minutes on the pitch for United, but he is also a good enough forward in his own right to get a run of games if the manager has confidence in him.

Moyes has made a fine start with a 4-1 win on the Premier League's opening day, but at some point he's likely to start changing around the team, and Hernandez has always shown himself to be adept at taking the chances he's handed.

Keeping him in the starting lineup might be tricky unless he's regularly scoring goals, but with the number of competitions United are playing in this season, he's sure to get around 30 appearances for United once more.

With regards to Valencia specifically, they aren't in the Champions League this season, so the most that Hernandez would be able to look forward to there would be another half-a-dozen league games on top, unless Los Che reached the latter stages of the Europa League or Copa del Rey.

For the sake of a few more matches on the pitch, he's better off staying at United, trying to win a starting place and probably having a big impact off the bench once more to challenge for the biggest trophies.