Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez has sent a message to David Moyes that he needs to start more games at club level, otherwise he may have to take his predatory striking instincts elsewhere.
Arguably the most instinctive goalscorer in the Premier League in terms of movement, Hernandez nevertheless struggles for minutes on the pitch at United behind Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
Two starts in 11 games this season has left the Mexican warming the bench, and he told Mexican TV station Deportes Telemundo things may change, per David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror:
I strive for that [to start more games].
I am working towards that—earning a spot as a starter. I know that my performance on the pitch will allow me to achieve that goal someday either here [in Manchester] or elsewhere for any other club.
Hernandez’s ideal scenario is still to become a first-team regular at United, where he has built a bond over the past three years:
I am going on four years here [at Manchester United] and really, like I have always said, I am happy to be able to play for one of the best clubs in the world, doing my best every single day to earn more minutes on the pitch.
I just need to be given more opportunities to showcase what I can do, because all of us want to be able to contribute our part so this team can win championships.
When Hernandez first arrived at United he instantly became a major hit with the club’s fans, scoring 21 goals during his first campaign.
He made 27 starts that season and 46 appearances in total, but those statistics have decreased ever since. In each of the next two years Hernandez managed 22 starts in all competitions, only making the starting XI in nine league games last term, per ESPNFC.
Under Moyes he has featured five times in total, scoring one goal, which is not the ideal scenario for the striker during a World Cup year—should Mexico qualify for the 2014 tournament.
Capable of instinctive finishes like his improvised winner against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup, Hernandez has a natural knack for scoring goals that cannot be taught.
United would find it difficult to find another player like Hernandez, who has become a rare commodity in the modern game, which is shorn of strikers in the mould of a Robbie Fowler or Andy Cole.
Van Persie brings the all-round qualities Moyes clearly desires: The Dutchman is able to hold up the ball, brings others into play and scores with regularity. Rooney has similar qualities.
However, neither has the sniper instincts of Hernandez, who comes alive inside the 18-yard box.
If there is a criticism of the Mexican it is that he is less prolific when starting a game than when he steps off the bench. However, of 22 starts in all competitions last term he still managed a healthy return of 14 goals, per ESPNFC.
A switch to Atletico would make a lot of sense for Hernandez, should the Madrid club come calling. David Villa is in the twilight years of his career and is currently the only out-and-out poacher in Diego Simeone’s squad.