Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez has only himself to blame for his lack of playing time
The career graph of Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez has been quite a peculiar one. In those days when most youngsters from the far West had to initially make the move to a smaller European club and work their way up before even dreaming to play for the elite sides, Chicharito had a dream start to his European life.
Having impressed for his boyhood club back in Mexico, Javier Hernandez could only thank his stars when he was picked up by Manchester United, one of the best teams in the whole of Europe (at least back then). And even though he did impress for Manchester United initially, that direct ascent to the peak of stardom might have indeed proven to be his undoing.
Lack of opportunities at Manchester United forced him to look for a move
Manchester United have always been a team of superstars. In the 2010-11 season, the United strike force included three big names - Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen. Yet the young Mexican international came in and carved out a name for himself with 13 goals from 27 Premier League appearances. Everything looked perfect for the rise of a new underdog superstar but alas, that was never to be.
Even though Chicharito followed up the 2010-11 season with two more fruitful seasons, it seemed like he would always remain where he started his first game for Manchester United from - the bench. In spite of all his impressive performances and the countless times he secured valuable points for his side with his timely finishes, Hernandez started 53 of his 102 Premier League games on the bench; a figure too high for a striker of his class.
With the arrival of David Moyes, things turned even worse for the striker. Sir Alex Ferguson knew exactly how to get the best out of Chicharito, using him as his trump card. However, Moyes seemed to have no idea on how to use the little Mexican and Hernandez was left rooted to the bench with his confidence taking significant hits with every passing game.
Even the fans were left disappointed seeing the way their baby-faced striker celebrated his rare strikes, with his usual gleaming face making way for an air of despair. There was a common nod of approval among the Manchester United faithful that it would be better for Hernandez to move away from Old Trafford, at least on a temporary basis.
That is when Chicharito took the horrendous decision to move to Real Madrid. When the summer of 2014/15 came, one man that was constantly linked with a move away from Old Trafford was Hernandez and it was almost certain that he would move for sure.
However, what everyone expected him to do was grab a move to a club either within the Premier League or outside, where he would get consistent playing time. After all, it was the lack of playing time that left him frustrated at United. Many major clubs like Valencia, Southampton, Inter Milan and Juventus were all interested in his signature.
These were clubs where he could have easily worked his way into the starting line-up and in particular, a move to Southampton, who had enquired about him as a part of the Luke Shaw deal, would have gave him the opportunity to start in the Premier League on a more regular basis and regain all his lost confidence.
Move to Real Madrid looking like a disastrous decision as of now
However, his final decision was baffling. Having been at the pinnacle of stardom, it seems that Hernandez was reluctant to make a move downwards as he refused a move to these sides and joined Real Madrid when they came calling.
Given the way Southampton have been performing this season, it is fair to say that Hernandez wasted a great opportunity to get his career back on track.
The only reason that could have motivated him to move to a side full of top performers is the possibility of being a part of a double or treble winning side regardless of whether he gets to play regularly or not; it is hard to imagine him even thinking of replacing someone like Karim Benzema from the starting line-up.
With just a single start and only 228 minutes of playing time so far, Chicharito has once again found himself in the same situation which he tried to escape from when he was at Manchester United. However this time, he only has himself to blame.
In football, sometimes you need to take a step back to get things back to the best and that is, unfortunately, what Chicharito failed to do. Having even lost out on his place in the Mexican national team starting line-up, we can only hope that Chicharito would have realized his mistake by now and will look to correct it in the coming future.
With sides like West Ham and Southampton already getting ready to grab him in the summer and the possibility of a return to United looming large thanks to Van Persie’s and Falcao’s dismal form, Hernandez might still have another chance to redeem his career.
Watching Chicharito play has always been a joy; it is now up to him to decide whether we get to do that on the field or only by watching YouTube videos from the past.