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May 28, 2011

Hernandez almost quit football

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez claims that he almost quit football completely two years ago, before the support of his family helped him seal his move to England.

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Hernandez has been the star signing of the Premier League this season as his goals helped United to win their 19th title, but having gone two years without scoring in Mexico, he fell out of favour with Chivas manager, Efrain Flores, and almost gave up playing.

"I wasn't getting the minutes I wanted, the coach wasn't playing me - I don't know why - and I was frustrated,'' he told the Guardian. My confidence started to drop. It reached the point where I was no longer enjoying football. I went to my family and asked whether I should carry on.

"They told me I had devoted a lot of time to trying to make my dream come true and not to give it up. They said to keep fighting, keep focused and the most important thing was to keep enjoying the game because people all over the world want to be football players."

Thankfully for United, he stayed on his chosen path and in April 2010 they concluded a £6.5 million deal shrouded in secrecy.

"We knew for two months but my father and I were told we couldn't tell the family, our friends or anyone else," Hernandez said. "It was hard. We are a big family, we are all very close, and we always want to talk about what is going on with each other. But we kept to their wishes. We told nobody."

Hernandez admits that he found the style of English football hard to adjust to, claiming: "In the first training session I looked at myself and realised I needed more strength. I am not the tallest or the biggest, so I knew I needed to improve on that. That first training session, it was a bit of a shock, to be honest. Then, my first game, against Chelsea at Wembley [the Community Shield], I noticed the physical side even more."

But no-one could have predicted the impact that the Mexican would have in his first season in England. Relegating Premier League top scorer Dimitar Berbatov to a bit-part role, Hernandez has scored 13 league goals in 27 appearances and puts his success down to support from both club and family.

"When I say I'm at the best club in the world, I mean it,'' he said. ''It's unbelievable the support you get here, the care they take to make sure the players are comfortable and happy. It's made me feel like I've been playing here for two or three years.

"It is still hard to believe [his success], especially when I was with my family when I got my medal and the Premier League trophy last Sunday".

Hernadez's season could yet get better as he prepares to face Barcelona in the Champions League final. "Whatever happens," he added, "it has still been a year I could never imagine."

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