PASADENA, Calif. – Despite being one of the bigger draws for fans that braved the hectic rush-hour traffic, Javier “Chicharito” Hernández was held out of Manchester United's lineup in Wednesday night's friendly against the LA Galaxy and will have to wait for his chance to impress new manager Louis van Gaal.
The Mexican national team star told reporters he felt fine physically after arriving in the Los Angeles area from Guadalajara on Tuesday, where he'd spent the previous eight days training. Yet United's new manager cited the post-World Cup break as a reason for not listing the striker on his roster.
“Everybody at Manchester United has had three weeks, but he was in the round of 16 against [the Netherlands],” van Gaal told reporters after the Red Devils dominated the LA Galaxy, 7-0, to take the Chevrolet Cup.
“You have to count 21 days [since his end of competition] and then he will join the team. I gave him permission to come directly from Mexico. He has to train, and then he can play. He has to train for a week, then he can participate.”
United hardly missed Chicharito in their thumping of the Galaxy, and it was an anticlimactic return to the Rose Bowl for the 26-year-old. Three years ago in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final, Hernández helped El Tri erase an early two-goal deficit to beat the US national team 4-2 in front of a large contingent of Mexico fans.
Hernández said he spoke with van Gaal upon rejoining the squad and “felt welcomed,” and noted he was ready to earn a spot with Manchester United amidst all the transfer talk.
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“Right now, this is my club,” Hernández said. “Whatever happens in the future, only God knows. What you want to do is work and stay in form. I've been confident my entire life and I don't expect to ever lose it.
“Since the invention of soccer there has been competition. I look at it positively and with optimism.”