Mexico were crashing out of the World Cup thanks to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Costa Rica until USA scored two last minute goals against Panama this week. USA saved Mexico’s World Cup hopes, you couldn’t script it.
But against Costa Rica, Javier Hernandez was a shadow of the lethal finisher he usually is. He missed an open goal after failing to connect with a square ball, threw away a 1-on-1 opportunity and put a chance he would usually bury into the side netting. Instead of having a first half hat-trick, Chicharito cut a frustrated figure on the pitch. On top of that, he was wrongly booked for being hit in the face before he was substituted at the hour mark.
United are lucky that Mexico made it to the World Cup play-off because Hernandez would have been destroyed if they hadn’t of qualified and it would have dramatically effected him back at Old Trafford.
You have to go back as far as March 2013 for Hernandez’ last goal in a World Cup qualifier when he netted a brace against Honduras and because of his poor form, Mexican fans are angry with Hernandez. He has been transformed from their saviour to someone who fans now see as a liability.
He will miss the first leg of their World Cup play-off against New Zealand after being booked against Panama and some Mexican fans are actually happy that Hernandez can’t play. Bear in mind how good Hernandez’s goalscoring record is; seven goals in ten appearances in 2013 and 35 goals in 53 appearances overall.
The old cliche of ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’ should resonate here amongst Mexican fans. If they are in desperate need of a goal, there is nobody else they would rather have on the end of an opportunity than Hernandez.
Football fans are generally fickle but a smear campaign against Hernandez won’t help him return to form. Like Shinji Kagawa, a lack of game time at Manchester United has effected Hernandez just as it would effect most professionals.
David Moyes has got a big squad and playing every play each week is impossible but he has to make sure he keeps the players happy. One of Sir Alex Ferguson’s finest traits was his ability to rotate the squad enough that everyone had playing time but Hernandez has had less than 70 minutes of Premier League football so far this season and his form has suffered because of it.
His time will come as it will for the likes of Kagawa and Zaha but the less time he has on the pitch, the longer it will take for Chicharito to return to his former self.
Plus, United should be worried that he could leave this year if he doesn’t get more minutes because his lack of game time has now effected his international football.