Javier Hernandez has shown his predatory skills to great effect recently: as a substitute against Stoke he bagged a late, headed winner, then against Norwich he started and scored twice to spark a 4-0 win. So, we decided to try to understand the mind of the Reds’ archetypal poacher...
Make no mistake, Chicharito loves scoring goals. “It’s the best feeling for a striker to score,” he says. But part of the reason that makes him so valuable to United is that he blends ruthlessness with a selflessness that is uncommon among strikers.
“I enjoy making a good pass or giving an assist,” he adds. “You have to enjoy those things as much as scoring goals. I never play just to score; I’m not upset if I haven’t scored in a couple of games. I don’t think, ‘I have to score in the next one’, because I know football can go like that sometimes. As long as the team is winning, that’s the most important thing. It’s part of our job as strikers to score goals, but I train and play the game to enjoy every pass, shot, movement, assist and goal. I try to experience all the things that football can give you in the same way.”
Yet there’s no denying his instincts and the way he reacts when the ball is anywhere near the goal. Is that nature or nurture? “That’s a tough question,” he says, weighing up his response. “Some skills come more easily to some people, but I think you always have to work hard to improve. I have always tried to work hard. It’s not necessarily the case that I was born that way… I didn’t just come here and train and play and score