MANCHESTER, England, October 30 – Manchester United’s League Cup inspiration Javier Hernandez has never expressed frustration about his lack of regular first-team action, according to assistant manager Steve Round.
The Mexico international made just his fourth start of the season and scored twice as United beat Norwich City 4-0 at Old Trafford to reach the League Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.
Hernandez is now in his fourth season at United, but after forcing his way into the first team — and starting in the Champions League final against Barcelona — in his first campaign, he has largely been used as an impact player since.
However, Round says that Hernandez has never allowed his irritation at his lack of playing time to show.
“He’s such a good character that I don’t think it’s fazed him at all. He knows he gets his games and gets his opportunities,” Round said.
“You see in training every day that he’s a really infectious character who loves to score goals. His history at Manchester United, he’s waited patiently for his opportunities and when he gets them, he takes them.”
United, now unbeaten in six matches in all competitions, ended the 3-2 win over Stoke City at the weekend with Hernandez in attack alongside Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
Round, standing in for manager David Moyes at the post-game press conference, has not ruled out using that attacking combination again in the future.
He said: “They finished like that on Saturday, so there might be games where that might transpire, but it just all depends on what the manager’s game-plan is, who we’re playing, and how he wants to put a team out.”
Wilfried Zaha made his first United appearance since the Community Shield in August, while Adnan Januzaj also impressed playing behind lone striker Hernandez.
The 18-year-old has generally been used on the left flank to accommodate the likes of Rooney and Shinji Kagawa, but has been in outstanding form this season and signed a new five-year contract earlier this month.
Round believes the teenager can play in a number of roles and said: “We see him as a seven, 10 or 11; he can play any of those three.
“And if you ask our reserve coach (Warren Joyce), who had him last season, he would say his best position is number nine because he played there for the reserves, so any of the top four positions he’s capable of.
“With a young player like Adnan, we’re trying to give him as much experience as we can, develop him as a player in numerous different positions and give him different ideas and thoughts about the way he should be playing.
“I was really pleased for Wilf Zaha to get a start. He just tired a little bit at the end, but it will do his confidence the world of good.
“He’s gone out there and experienced what it’s like to win at Old Trafford.”
Hernandez opened the scoring with a penalty after Januzaj went down under Leroy Fer’s challenge and the Mexican added a second with a header after the interval.
Phil Jones scored a third when he volleyed through a crowd of bodies, before Rooney picked out fellow substitute Fabio da Silva and the Brazilian prodded in at the near post.
Norwich’s Scotland winger Robert Snodgrass needed lengthy treatment and was stretchered off after suffering a head injury in a challenge with Fabio’s brother, Rafael.
Canaries manager Chris Hughton confirmed Snodgrass would spend Tuesday night in hospital.
He said: “He was out for a period of time. It is very much concussion. They will just do some tests tonight to make sure everything’s OK.
“At this moment we’re thinking it was concussion and by the time he was taken out, he was very much OK.”