Javier Hernandez Must Stay Patient at Manchester United

Greg JohnsonSpecial to Bleacher ReportNovember 8, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 25:  Javier Hernandez of Manchester United in action during the Capital One Cup Third Round match betwen Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on September 25, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

If you were to boil down the qualities of Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez into two words, you would be left with unceasing optimism.

At his best, the striker is a tireless blur of smiling sincerity, fidgeting movement and opportunism in the box.

Hernandez is rarely seen without a grin on his face.
Hernandez is rarely seen without a grin on his face.Alex Livesey/Getty Images

His goals come from his unceasing work rate and optimistic chasing of every ball, chance, mistake and pocket of space.

His simplified approach to the game and purpose within a team—get the ball into the back of the net—has endeared Chicharito to the fans of Manchester United who quickly anointed him as the spiritual successor to their treble-winning super sub Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Thankfully, the game of football somehow got through the comparison without anyone trying to make a nickname such as the Baby Faced Bandito or similar come into existence.

However, he has largely remained in this role ever since his arrival, and with his playing time further diminished by the emergence of Danny Welbeck and the purchase of Robin van Persie, the Mexican's boundless enthusiasm is beginning to show signs of fatigue at Old Trafford.

Unfortunately, Hernandez has only two options: remain patient or leave.

Van Persie is just a better footballer than Hernandez.
Van Persie is just a better footballer than Hernandez.Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Replacing van Persie as the club's main goalscorer will not be possible in the short-term, and unless Hernandez improves his strike rate to a superhuman level, there's no guarantee that he will become a permanent fixture in the long-term once the Dutchman has left or retired.

That may sound harsh, but when a player's game is all about goals by virtue of their limitations in other areas, they cannot miss chances such as the one Chicharito did against Real Sociedad in San Sebastian.

Compared to van Persie and Wayne Rooney, Hernandez simply doesn't possess the same sort of all-round abilities. He is a poacher whose build-up play is improving rather than an excellent footballer who can score.

What can Chicharito offer United when the goals struggle to come?
What can Chicharito offer United when the goals struggle to come?Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

This specialisation by default requires teammates to pick up the slack, creating chances for him and taking responsibility for the link-up play and clever passes that are beyond the Mexican.

Which is fine, but in order for Chicharito to justify such special treatment, he has to deliver to a punishing degree, otherwise what's the point?

During games in which van Persie struggles to find the net, he can drop deep and create for others or deliver a corner or free-kick that will lead to goal.

Rooney has always been a patchy goalscorer throughout his career, but his true value comes from his ability to act as a catalyst for his team, either in the hole, up front or out to the left.

Welbeck's career so far has arguably been built around the idea that the other areas of excellence within his game can make up for the Englishman's inability to find the net on a consistent basis.

He also always manages to make a contribution in some form, be it as a dribbler, a ball-winning irritant in the attacking third or hard-working facilitator for those around him.

Sadly, as a footballer, Hernandez will always and forever be about goals and scoring them and little more.

Hernandez's narrower range of abilities mean that he's under great pressure to deliver on his specific strength: scoring goals.
Hernandez's narrower range of abilities mean that he's under great pressure to deliver on his specific strength: scoring goals.Christopher Lee/Getty Images

This means that a poor miss in one single game is far more damaging to his chances of being selected again than it would be for the other more rounded strikers on United's books.

Due to this, he will likely always be a benchwarmer at United regardless of the connection felt between him and the fans and the sunny, joyous disposition that emanates from his media comments, goal celebrations and general presentation in the public eye.

Forget being likable, he is an easy player to love, and there will never be a shortage of supporters championing his cause at whatever club he plays at.

Unfortunately, if he wants to play more first-team football, he'll have to do it at a club other than United.

It's patience or the road, and with the World Cup looming in the summer, Hernandez may have to pack his bags in January in order to find the game time he craves.

If United fans are honest with themselves, choosing their head over their hearts, there's only one way this particular story is going to end while Chicharito wants regular games.