Javier Hernandez attributes Bayer Leverkusen form to opportunity
Red-hot Bayer Leverkusen striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez said his Bundesliga form this season is the result of regular opportunities to play, something he was lacking in recent seasons at Manchester United and Real Madrid.
Hernandez, 27, is in Orlando, Florida, for his team's upcoming matches in the Florida Cup tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, where Bayer will face Sante Fe (Colombia) on Sunday and Internacional (Brazil) on Jan. 13.
Speaking to the Orlando Sentinel ahead of the two contests, Hernandez said his form in England and Spain didn't suffer from a lack of confidence, just a lack of opportunity.
"What I was missing in the last two or three years, it was like I was playing sometimes and then returning to the bench," said Hernandez, who has 11 Bundesliga goals this season. "But now that I am playing most of the game or almost all of my games here in my club, that's what I need.
"Because people sometimes think the confidence is with goals, but I don't think like that. I think confidence is to play day-by-day, to get rhythm."
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Regarding his mooted summer move to Major League Soccer and Orlando City SC, Hernandez said that those were just rumours and that he was fully focused on staying on with United in the Premier League before his Bayer move came about. However, he did commend the quality of players in MLS, and said the league was headed in the right direction.
"[MLS is] improving, improving a lot," Hernandez said. "[The U.S. is] a country that is based in sports, not only soccer. Most of the best sports leagues are in the USA, you can also see in the Olympics that USA is one of the best countries in everything. So they start, we can say late, in soccer, and now they are improving with very big steps comparing to other countries.
"I'm very happy that this country and all the people in the U.S. are more interested in soccer, because that's a good country to play and as well as to live [in].
"I don't know [if they will sign more Mexican national team stars,], but that's the idea I think MLS has, so the time is going to tell us if there is going to be more or there is going to be less."
Hernandez deflected any additional praise or recognition he might be getting thanks to his recent play, like being named one of Bayer's Three Kings via Twitter in recognition of Three Kings' Day -- the Christian holiday widely celebrated in Spain and Latin America.
"That's something that the press or the fans can put those adjectives to you," Hernandez said. "But for me I am just one more player, one more person to play for Leverkusen who tries to do his best for the team, to get the objectives that we wanted since the beginning of the season."