Following months of speculation on his future at Manchester United and after spending last season on loan at Real Madrid, it appears Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez has a future at Old Trafford after all.
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Asked about speculation surrounding the Mexican international forward ahead of their trip to Aston Villa on Friday (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra), United boss Louis van Gaal says “Chicharito” has an important role to play for the Red Devils this season.
After previously stating that the 27-year-old forward was not really in his plans, this is quite the U-turn from Van Gaal as many expected “Chicharito” to leave United this summer after five years at the club. Reports have linked him with moves to West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, Torino and Major League Soccer, but here’s what LVG had to say about the predatory forward.
“The striker is Rooney and Chicharito is the second striker and he knows that,” Van Gaal said.
So, what do we make of that?
“Chicharito” was on the bench for United’s opening game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur and has fully recovered from the shoulder injury which kept him out of Mexico’s Gold Cup success this summer. But should he want more than playing second fiddle to Rooney at United?
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If that’s truly the case and Van Gaal doesn’t buy any more forwards, “Chicharito” will get plenty of minutes this season as United will have to juggle commitments in the PL, domestic cups and the UEFA Champions League. However with 59 goals in 154 games for United, the Mexican forward has proven himself and even though he mostly played off the bench for Real Madrid on a season-long loan last year he still managed to score nine times in 33 appearances which included the game-winner against Atletico Madrid in the UCL quarterfinals.
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His ability to pop up and score when his teams need it most have seen him used prominently off the bench during the last few years but “Chicharito” deserves the chance to play up top regularly. If he gets the chance to start 15-20 games at United this season, that could be good enough for him. However, with Van Gaal’s preference of only playing one central striker it’s a case of picking between his captain Rooney and “Chicharito.” We all know who will win that battle.
This decision on whether to stay at United or move on this summer is a huge one for “Chicharito’s” future and it will tell us a lot about his ambitions.