Paul Scholes knows a good player when he sees one. And it didn’t take long for him to conclude that Javier Hernandez would end up with 25 goals in his first season for United.
Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed Scholes made the prediction after watching Hernandez’s pre-season goalscoring debut against the MLS All-Stars in the USA last July.
And such is the impact that the Mexican striker has had in his first term at Old Trafford, Sir Alex is now inclined to believe his veteran midfielder was right.
"When Javier scored his first goal in Houston, Paul told me after the game that he'd get 25 goals this season," the Reds boss said. "Paul is a quiet lad and doesn't say a lot, but he’s a fantastic judge.
"And with Hernandez now on 16 goals, with eight league games left and hopefully a few European and FA Cup ties, he could reach that tally and Scholes would be right. That's the way we're looking at him now – we're expecting that."
Sir Alex admits his initial assessment was that Chicharito would mainly be used as a substitute in his first season for United, but the striker's rapid development – and unerring ability in front of goal – has been impossible to ignore.
"It's been nothing but acceleration [by him]," Sir Alex said. "We tell a lot of our young players to take time to settle in, learn the language and develop physically, because it is a physical league.
"He’s now had his breaking-in period and, although he could speak English, it is now much better. He comes into training every morning at 9am, does his own work in the gym, then stays after training with the rest of the players and practises various parts of his game.
"The boy wants to be a player and the footballing tradition of his family has helped. That gives him an extra encouragement and urge to do well, which is sensational."