While the press was dominated by reports over the potential burn out of English prodigy Jack Wilshere, this United fan was concerned by a far more pressing matter, the condition of Mexican sensation Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
After playing nearly all of the second half of what was no doubt an energy sapping season, Chicharito is set to play in a major international tournament this summer, the Concacaf Gold Cup.
For those who aren’t familiar with the Gold Cup, it’s North and Central America’s version of the Euros, an important competition, especially this year as the winner gains entry to the 2013 Confederations Cup. If he avoids injury, and Mexico manage to perform, then Chicharito could potentially play in another four or five games for his country, before United kick off the Community Shield against City in August.
For a defender or a goalkeeper perhaps, such an ordeal would have little effect, but for a player like Hernandez, so reliant on his pace an agility, this glut of games could be disastrous. Due to his boundless energy and outstanding perseverance, Chicharito has managed to get in behind a whole myriad of defenses, as well as put himself in the right place at the right time. However, tired after missing out on summer holidays, the Mexican may well struggle to replicate his form of last season when the Premier League kicks off in August. Tired, he could lose that all important half an inch, the tiny denomination which would allow him to get ahead of a defender and score a goal. Anyone who witnessed Gazza’s miss in ’96 knows the importance of that half an inch…
Staying up late last night to watch Mexico’s Gold Cup opener, I was relieved to see Chicharito was missing none of his usual enthusiasm; for anyone that doesn’t already know, the lad scored a superb second half hat trick. Encouraging, but certainly not the provider of any kind of termination to my worries, playing in the ridiculously hot United States, Hernandez is likely to be faced with harder tests to come, including a likely final against the highly robust Gold Cups hosts: Bob Bradley’s USA team.
To make matters worse, you can be sure that Chicha will be targeted by defenders in every game he plays, such treatment is simply part and parcel of life as one of the best strikers in the World. Certainly, when the Mexicans do inevitably collide with the United States later this month, no love will be lost between the Little Pea and the US back line; players like Onyewu and Bocanegra take no prisoners.
Part of the reason Chicharito was so successful last term was his ability to maintain fitness, something which contributed to Dimitar Berbatov’s inability to break back into the first team. Unfortunately, that run won’t last forever, and it would come as no surprise at all to me if a tired Hernandez had the start of his Premier League season delayed by a crunching tackle courtesy of one of those brutes the United States are wont to insert in defense.
For anyone curious, Chicharito and Mexico kick off their next game on the ninth against Cuba, a match which will be available via online in enough places to insure a satisfactory video feed. Hernandez is likely to have a wealth of chances in that game, Cuba lost their opener five-nil, so here is to another couple strikes from a hopefully fit and fresh Javier Hernandez!