Javier Hernandez has lift-off as he prepares for his Manchester United debut

July 27th, 2010

Hot prospect: Javier Hernandez celebrates after scoring for Mexico against France at the World Cup

For a young man who has rocketed from semi-obscurity to a seat with the stars, it was fitting that Javier Hernandez planned to spend his second day with Manchester United at the NASA space centre in Houston.

A year ago, few people outside Mexico had heard of Hernandez. The Guadalajara boy from a footballing family was simply a promising striker with Chivas.

Early on Thursday morning, a sell-out 70,000 crowd will be at the Reliant Stadium to see United’s £7million signing make his debut against MLS All-Stars.

‘My life has changed a lot,’ said Hernandez, who arrived in Houston on Sunday to greet more than a thousand fans. ‘But I’ve always tried to be the same, despite what I’ve achieved.’

Until he met his team-mates on Monday, the closest Hernandez had got to them was on his PlayStation. But the 22-year-old is unfazed at becoming the first Mexican player at United.

‘I always try to see pressure in a different way, more like motivation,’ he said. ‘There are millions of people in the world who would do anything to be in my position. Sometimes we focus so much on the achievements and our dreams, maybe we forget to enjoy it.

‘I dreamed of one day being able to play with all of these players, and I’m going to try to learn from them. I also want to add my little grain of sand because I want us to be a great team. I’ve always admired United’s players. Rooney and before that Ronaldo and Van Nistelrooy.’

Hernandez will be joined by his parents and sister in Manchester. Javier Hernandez Snr was in Mexico’s 1986 World Cup squad and his father Tomas Balcazar scored against France in the 1954 finals, a feat emulated by young Javier this summer.

The fastest player at the 2010 World Cup, Hernandez also scored against Argentina. Mexican football’s pin-up boy has inherited his father’s nickname Chicharito (Little Pea), because of their light green eyes, and it will adorn his No 14 shirt at United this season.

‘How cool that a nickname that’s a family tradition is becoming known,’ said Hernandez.

‘With my dad and my grandfather, I have two more coaches who have always been able to tell me what I’m missing and what I’ve done right. That’s helped me stay grounded and they’ve instilled in me the values that I shouldn’t feel greater or inferior to any other player.’

The man for all seasons: Sir Alex Ferguson signs autographs before United's clash with Kansas City Wizards

Hernandez has discussed life in England with Tottenham’s Giovani dos Santos and Carlos Vela of Arsenal, two Mexicans who have struggled to make an impact in the Premier League. But he is quick to dismiss comparisons with Mexico’s greatest export, former Real Madrid striker Hugo Sanchez.

‘I will always try to lift the Mexico name up high,’ he said. ‘But I’ve never liked comparisons. Everyone has their own merit and paid a price to get here. Every player has his own star.’

Hernandez only won his first cap for Mexico in September, but 21 goals in 28 games for Chivas last season caught United’s attention. Sir Alex Ferguson praised his scouts for spotting the striker before he attracted even more interest at the World Cup.

The United boss is caught between wanting to ease Hernandez in and pleasing fans and sponsors who hope to see him.

‘We want to integrate him into the team as quickly as possible,’ said Ferguson. ‘There’s a big Mexican population in Houston and it’s a very exciting attraction for them.’

After the All-Star Game, United end their tour against Chivas in Guadalajara, where Hernandez will play a half for each side. Asked what happens if his new player scores against United, Ferguson said: ‘He’ll be fined and transferred back!’

                                                                                 Source: daily mail

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