Javier Hernandez: Brace Against Norwich Should Earn Chicharito More Playing Time

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 29, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29:  Javier Hernandez of Manchester United celebrates scoring from penalty spot during the Capital One Cup fourth round match between Manchester United and Norwich City at Old Trafford on October 29, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

With a brace against Nowich City in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, Javier Hernandez has done enough to warrant a more consistent place in David Moyes' Manchester United.

The 25-year-old forward opened the scoring in United's 4-0 win, adding a second goal in the 54th minute, via the club's Instagram account.

It was Chicharito's best performance of what has so far been an underwhelming campaign. He hasn't played much for Manchester United, and he's been one of Mexico's biggest disappointments as they try to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

You know Hernandez is a good player. Perhaps he needs a performance like this in order to regain that confidence he's shown in past seasons. Should he return to being a lethal finisher, there's little choice Moyes will have other than to include him in the starting lineup more often.

One of the ongoing storylines of Hernandez's career since moving to Old Trafford in 2010 has been his lack of playing time.

You could understand why Sir Alex Ferguson mostly relied on Chicharito to come off the bench earlier in the player's career. This allowed Hernandez to get used to the Premier League a little bit at a time while not putting too much pressure on him too quickly.

After a while, you would've expected the player's role to grow; however, the Mexican striker has failed to nail down a first-team place, but it's not for a lack of trying.

He's made four appearances in the Premier League this season, three of which were as a substitute, and made just nine starts last year.

At first, it was Wayne Rooney largely standing in Hernandez's way. Now it's Rooney, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck, with Chicharito relegated to making the occasional start.

It's a bit of a shame, as Hernandez has scored in double figures during each of his three full seasons with the club. Most of the time when he's on the pitch, he makes an impact. It's not far off to think that with 25-30 starts, the forward could crack 20-plus goals.

The critics will argue that Hernandez has been poor this season and isn't good enough to be a regular starter for United. In addition, the Capital One Cup isn't the best proving ground.

To a certain extent, it's a valid criticism. The League Cup ranks far below the FA Cup and Premier League in the English competition hierarchy. However, you can't knock a player too much when he scores a brace in what has been one of his few starts this season.

As football writer Colin Udoh points out, Hernandez is your prototypical poacher, in that he always finds a way to get into a scoring position.

You know exactly what you're getting with the player. Hernandez is limited on the pitch, but what he does, he does extremely well. He's not going to pick up the ball at midfield and run through the defense. He's instead going to hover near the 18-yard box and wait for that moment to pounce.

Along with the sense that comes with starting a player who can can contribute, there's also the ticking clock that is a possible Chicharito transfer. In a World Cup year, he can't afford to sit on the bench.

He's already intimated to Deportes Telemundo in Mexico that there's a chance he will leave in January in search of regular playing time, via the Daily Mirror's David McDonnell. Losing a player like Hernandez would be a blow to Manchester United.

Before this becomes a bigger problem than it is, Moyes should look toward the Mexican forward more and more. At this point, Hernandez has earned it.