Stapleton: Hernández may make big impact

Frank Stapleton, who amassed more than 200 league appearances for Manchester United during the 1980s, believes that new precocious signing Javier Hernández could play a significant role at Old Trafford next season.

Mesmerised by Hernández’s energetic performances for Mexico in South Africa, Stapleton – speaking to the Manchester Evening News – said: “He might have arrived without much of a fanfare at the start of the new season but he has shown at the World Cup that, perhaps, we can expect more from him.

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“Having seen what he can do, I am no longer too worried about how he’ll cope with the Premier League. He’s got decent pace, is a busy player and, as we’ve seen, can score a goal. His effort against Argentina was first class.”

Hernández, who becomes the first ever Mexican to sign for the Red Devils, has an impressive international goalscoring record: the 22-year-old has nine goals in just 16 games for El Tri.

Yet confirmation of his permanent transfer from Guadalajara was met with ambivalence by United fans who were doubtful that El Chicharito, untried in Europe, would adapt to the unique demands of the Premier League.

They were also concerned that such an underwhelming signing was further evidence of the lack of funds available to Sir Alex Ferguson under the controversial reign of the Glazer family.

However, the forward’s two World Cup goals, against France and Maradona’s Albiceleste, and his bustling manner have eased Stapleton’s fears.

“I am sure Sir Alex will have been taken aback by what he saw at the World Cup. None of us knew what to expect from Hernández. Nobody had seen anything of him and, in truth, those early games didn’t suggest much," he continued.

“But he grew in the tournament and when you score goals of the quality he has on the biggest stage of the lot then you have to sit up and take notice. I think all United fans will be buzzing about him now. He’ll put pressure on all the forwards at Old Trafford.”

Stapleton also believes that, despite his inexperience, should Hernández’s inspired form continue in pre-season preparations, manager Ferguson could decide to throw the Mexican into Manchester United’s opening league encounters.

“He has a good opportunity now to hit the ground running in England. Time will tell how he handles that. But the good thing for him is that Sir Alex Ferguson knows just how to introduce young players.

“He might not have considered Javier for an immediate impact. But it has happened in the past where players who were looked upon as ‘ones for the future’ have made such a good early impression that the United manager has given them a chance.”

By Jonathan Gilbert

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