Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Javier Hernandez: Another shot in the dark, or the new Michael Owen?

England were in action last night at Wembley, the Three Lions ran out 3-1 winners, but the score-line flattered Capello's team. At times England looked very much second best against a skillful and hard working Mexico outfit. Somewhat against the run of play, Ledley King and Peter Crouch scored; both first-half goals came from set-pieces. Mexico were not helped by the fact their goalkeeper Perez is only 5ft 7in, he is the football equivalent of "Mini Me".

Rio Ferdinand was partnered by Ledley King in the middle of the back four, both central defenders made mistakes which could easily have resulted in Mexico winning or drawing this friendly; only the thickness of the post and a excellent one-handed save by Robert Green denied the visitors two first half goals.

Mexico pulled a goal back just before half-time and on this occasion Ferdinand was guilty of ball-watching and allowing his man to run free as Franco punished sloppy England.

Based on this performance, England do not have a prayer of getting anywhere near winning this summer's World Cup in South Africa. The England back four looks less than solid and Mexico found it all too easy to stroll through England's midfield. Steven Gerrard was a passenger alongside James Milner (the poor man's Gareth Barry). Michael Carrick was sloppy in possession and at times in the opening period was a liability, in total fairness, he made one excellent challenge which denied Mexico a shooting opportunity.

Up front Wayne Rooney started alongside Peter Crouch; quite why Capello felt the need to risk playing the United striker for the full ninety minutes on a poor Wembley surface was baffling to put it mildly. Rooney is England's only genuine world-class in-form player and after several recent injuries, surely any sensible manager wouldn't have risked playing him in what was a meaningless friendly, given Rooney's place in the side is a assured.

Onlooking United fans will have tuned-in to see how new signing Javier Hernandez fared in his first outing on English soil. The young Mexico striker came on at half time when replacing Franco.

Hernandez looked lively in around the penalty area without being able to make any meaningful impact on the game. England improved in the second-half, so much so that it's difficult to remember a clear goal-scoring opportunity for the visitors.

Going off his performance against England, Hernandez plays very much in the style of Michael Owen; he plays on the shoulder of the last central defender and like Owen his movement around the box is excellent. Whether or not Fergie really needed another Michael Owen type of striker is a good question to ask. Regardless of his suitability to play alongside Rooney and possibly to even lead United's forward line, there will be huge question marks about Hernandez over the coming weeks and months, not least because he's young and Mexican.

There is likely difficult period of adjustment for the young striker and it might take some time before he settles, only then will United fans see the best of him.

The contest was effectively over just after half-time following the goal of the game when Glen Johnson crashed home from the edge of the Mexico penalty area.

Prediction: England will be on the first plane home following the first-round of knockout games.

This blog will be monintoring the performances of all the key United players over the World Cup as well as commenting on players who might/should be on Ferguson's radar. Watch this space.


  1. Has to be said that the normal wave of optimism about a major tournament involving England is misplaced. There is absolutely no hope in hell of us winning the world cup. Granted last night wasn't our full-strength side, but it was far frm convincing. We would need to play every game perfectly and for every single player to be on top form and to not have any injuries or suspensions. Fat chance??? I can hear Fat Chances niece already singing.

  2. I think we need a creative player. If we can go for Eden Hazard this summer who is 19 years old and dribbles like Ronaldo. We might be able to buy cheap and win something.

  3. KK,

    Who does Eden Hazard play for? Details please...

  4. Eden Hazard (born 7 January 1991) is a Belgian football player currently playing for French club Lille OSC and the Belgium national team. He play almost like Ronaldo. Quick, Skillful almost everything reminds me of Ronaldo just that he is shorter. I Dont understand why fergie dont go for him yet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNGr9KUpPdI

  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eden_Hazard

    But i wouldn't go near the guy. We need an established player joining our ranks not some youngster who still needs to cut his teeth and will probably be more miss than hit.

    I don't think i need to worry though, Fergie has already got his quota of young unproven players to test up front(diouf, hernandez, etc).

    Shoring up the midfield with a pacey midfielder wouldn't hurt us. We need a playmaker who isn't afraid to make tackles (think Scholes with better timing). If Everton were prepared to sell Arteta would be a fantastic signing.

    What do you think James?

  6. KK & Slayer,

    Thanks, Eden looks useful. I guess it's only a matter of time before one of the big clubs signs him.

    Not sure about Arteta to be honest.

    Here's a suggestion for you both.

    If I was Fergie I'd give Rafael a game or two in midfield. He has all the attributes and he started out as a winger. IMO, he's head and shoulders above Carrick and Fletcher on football ability.

  7. slayer,

    I could like the club to buy some established player too. The problem is that we don't have the money. I like Silva to come. Arteta is good but from his performance from Everton he doesn't convinced me.

    Rafael is good technically but not sure if he can be compact in the middle. He has a vision for nice pass as we seen in the past. But it's a good idea though. Never think of it in the past.

  8. Hernandez didnt really do much last night for me. I guess I just worry that at a time when we are crying out for a top quality striker on Rooneys level we put our hopes on a young kid that none of us had ever heard of. None of the signings over the last 12 months have filled me with confidence - tho I have to admit I was wrong about Valencia and the guy has done a good job.

    England have a snowballs chance in hell in the world cup. Prior to the Bayern game I would have said Rooney alone was in the form to carry us to the semi's but thats not the case now. Truth be told England have the same issues United have. No decent stand-out partner for Rooney, no bite in the central midfield when Barry isnt around (tho I dont even rate him tbh) and no stand out number 1 goalkeeper (not such a big deal for united at this time).
    Carrick was god awful last night. I had forgotten he was playing he was that quiet. I wasent watching the tv when he got subbed, took me almost 20 minutes to realise he wasent on the pitch anymore!

  9. Dave,

    I totally agree with your comments. Going slightly off topic, there was a United game towards the end of the season when Fletcher didn't play and I didn't realise he was even missing until 20 minutes after the final whistle. His name was never mentioned in the commentary: "United are missing Fletcher today" etc. When I realised he'd not played I thought to myself, apart from I couldn't believe what had just happened, I reflected that it wouldn't have been like that with say Roy Keane... such are my low expectations of Fletcher.

  10. I kinda see Fletcher as the best of a bad bunch - we miss him at times (such as the champs league final) just because Anderson and Carrick look so bone idol that in comparrison Fletch looks pretty good.


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