HOUSTON — The buzz for the MLS All-Star Game has now gone up a few notches in Houston as the match nears a sell-out.
Not only do Manchester United arrive on Monday ahead of Wednesday’s meeting against the MLS All-Stars, but manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed that new Mexican soccer idol Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will make his debut on Wednesday.
"It depends on his condition when he joins us in Houston but we hope to give him a bit of football on Wednesday night," Ferguson told Manchester United’s official website.
If Chicharito’s previous debuts are any indication, it should prove memorable. He scored in his first appearance in a Chivas de Guadalajara jersey, and his World Cup debut also resulted in a goal.
“That would be great, but the important thing is to get to that debut and do as well as possible,” Hernandez said. “With or without goals, the important thing is always to debut doing things well as a team and that, instead of debuting with a goal, to do so with a victory.”
Hernandez’s mature comments belie his age. The 22-year-old was acquired by Manchester United prior to the start of the World Cup, and the Red Devils admit that his price tag could have likely increased by two- and three-fold had they not moved as early as they did.
His mission at Old Trafford is not an easy one. He will battle the likes of Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov, Federico Macheda, Mame Biram Diouf and Danny Welbeck for a spot among the forwards.
“With three young first-team players, and those with experience, that competition will always be there,” Hernandez said. “Obviously, they’re players known worldwide, but I will also try to do as best I can and leave the decision up to the coaching staff and the manager. You can only work and try to do the best you possibly can.”
Chicharito carries the load of expectation of his countrymen, who dream of watching exploits that rival those of Hugo Sanchez, the most famous Mexican to succeed overseas with Real Madrid.
First, he will look to be the first Mexican player to achieve any degree of success in England. His compatriots and teammates on the Mexican national team, Giovanni dos Santos (Tottenham) and Carlos Vela (Arsenal) have not broken through. Pablo Barrera, recently acquired by West Ham, became the fourth Mexican forward in England’s top flight.
“They’ve talked to me and are telling me all about England,” Hernandez said. “They say they’re glad, they’re happy, and that it’s the strongest league. They also said to take advantage and to thank God for the team to which I’ve arrived.”
Yes, Hernandez has finally arrived with Manchester United. The question is what will he make of the opportunity.