Javier Hernández’s dilemma: Manchester United and Real Madrid or first-team football

Given the amount of games in a regular season in modern football, it is only natural that the big clubs have sizeable squads and as such some players face prolonged periods watching on from the sidelines.

These fringe players’ opportunities to play will largely depend on the ethos of their manager; whether it be a squad-rotating tinkerman or a tried-and-tested, stick with the same XI coach.

Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid firmly falls into the latter of these two categories, with the Italian boss largely sticking with the same players that have delivered the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu outfit European glory last term.

As such, the likes of Sami Khedira, Asier Illarramendi and Raphaël Varane have all found themselves out of the starting XI more times than they are in it in 2014-15, but spare a thought for poor old Javier Hernández.

With Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema affectionately being known as the BBC in the Spanish press, the former Chelsea boss recently admitted that all three would always play if fit and available.

For the Mexican, competition against Benzema to lead the line has been a losing battle this season, with Chicharito only starting one single La Liga game (when the Frenchman was unavailable) and featuring in less than 200 minutes of play all campaign long.

Javier HernándezHernández got a rare chance to play in last night’s 2-0 victory over Schalke in the Champions League, coming off the bench for the last 12 minutes but the game was already over as a contest.

Despite plenty of transfer rumours linking Benzema with a move away from the Spanish capital, the France international has shown over time that he is an important player for Los Blancos.

Álvaro Morata, a player developed through the club’s Castilla youth system and seemingly destined for great things in the game, was allowed to leave to join Juventus due to a lack of chances to play.

Hernandez has suffered the same fate this season and it is all the crueller as the Central American poacher has been subject to this fate for a prolonged period of time.

In his first two seasons at Manchester United the predatory Mexican was by no means first choice in Sir Alex Ferguson’s sides, but he started 15 and 18 Premier League games respectively.

However, a total of only 15 collective league starts over 2012-13 and 2013-14, accompanied with the slim pickings in Spain this season, is robbing a top player in his prime the chance to show just how good he is.

The striker’s long periods of stagnation on the bench at Old Trafford impinged on his performances at the World Cup in Brazil and there is no doubting that this summer Hernández must make a move to a club where he will play week-in, week-out.

Plenty of illustrious European clubs would surely jump at the opportunity to have the Mexican as their central striker, with evidence from his early days at Old Trafford that Hernández could be a 25-goal-a-season man if given consistent time on the pitch.

The prestige of representing the likes of United and Madrid is something that most young players dream of, but the reality for someone like Hernández at the age of 26 is that he would be better served taking a step back to play regularly for a club slightly less historic.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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