MANCHESTER // Ryan Giggs believes Javier Hernandez deserves all the praise he is receiving for a magnificent debut season at Manchester United.
Few outside his native Mexico had heard of Hernandez before Sir Alex Ferguson completed his cloak-and-dagger operation to sign the striker in April last year.
A decent showing at the World Cup gave an indication Ferguson might have landed a £7 million (Dh42m) bargain, but even the United manager did not expect 22-year-old Hernandez to make the impact he has during an incredible campaign.
Starting with an unorthodox goal on his debut in the Community Shield win, to Sunday's 36-second stunner, both against Chelsea, Hernandez has continued to impress and has now become the first United player to score 20 in his debut campaign since Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2001.
If voting for the player-of-the-year awards were taking place now, Hernandez would probably go very close to winning them. Giggs, the veteran midfielder, feels all the credit is fully merited.
"Twenty goals in his first season is unbelievable," Giggs said. "You're always in with a chance when you have a goalscorer like Javier in your team. He has made a fantastic impact, on and off the pitch.
"His English is perfect, which helps, and his goal just sums up his season. Sometimes those chances can come a bit early for you. You are not quite up to speed. Thirty seconds, he gets a chance, he scores. He deserves everything that has been said about him."
Hernandez helped put United just one point away from the Premier League title, which they can win on Saturday at Blackburn Rovers.
* Press Association