MICHAEL OWEN has warned Manchester United’s new fans’ hero Javier Hernandez that he cannot afford to rest on his laurels.
The 22-year-old Mexican has shouldered the goalscoring responsibility in the last two games to give United supporters something to cheer about after the trauma of last week’s Wayne Rooney saga.
Hernandez scored twice at Stoke on Sunday and was hailed by United boss Alex Ferguson after hitting an excellent winner in Tuesday night’s 3-2 Carling Cup win over Wolves.
Owen, who has just suffered another injury setback with a hamstring problem that will keep him out of action for several weeks, said Hernandez should not take his success for granted.
Owen said: “It’s obviously early days for him but he’s made a really good impression at the club, scored goals in the last couple of games.
“He’s young, sharp and a good finisher. He seems to be thriving, he’s always got a smile on his face, he enjoys his football and the fans have taken to him already.
“So far so good, but, as I know, football changes in a week or whatever.
“Hopefully it’s the start of something good for him, but he needs to keep working hard and keep putting in those performances because at Man United that’s what it demands – you score one week, but if you play poorly the next week then you could be out the team so you need to always be on top of your game.
“Thankfully he’s playing well at the minute, and long may that continue.”
Meanwhile, Owen insisted that the Rooney saga that caused such uncertainty over the striker’s future had not affected United. He added: “Everyone seems to be happy now. The club have got a world-class player signed for five years and obviously Wayne’s happy and the manager’s happy.
“Wayne is obviously ambitious and the club’s ambitious. He wouldn’t have signed if he had any doubts.
“Cutting out all the rubbish, the main thing is that he’s signed.’’
Owen also revealed that a hamstring tear is set to sideline him for a few more weeks. He said: “I had a tight groin quite a while ago and then I trained for a week in preparing for last night’s game, but had a setback in training with a different muscle injury, so unfortunately that ruled me out for last night and is going to rule me out for a few weeks as well.”
The United star also launched a staunch defence of modern day players. The past few months have seen English football overwhelmed by a slew of negative headlines regarding the behaviour of some high earners in the Barclays Premier League.
Owen insists the sweeping generalisations are unfair on many professionals. “People like to judge footballers as a whole but I think that’s pretty unfair,” Owen said. “I think it’s dangerous if you generalise and say ‘all footballers are this, all footballers are that’.
“We’re all individuals, we all do our different things, and the common thing is we all go out on a Saturday afternoon and play on the football pitch. But apart from that every footballer’s different.”
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