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Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea admits he misses Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez not just because the Mexican striker was a close friend but also because the player has the ability to contribute 20 to 30 goals a season to any side. The Spaniard says he does not know how the striker fell out of favour for both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal but he "would always play" in his team and would love to reunited with him in the future.
Hernandez was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer of 2010 and quickly became a crucial member of the squad, scoring 20 goals in his debut campaign in the Premier League while being voted United's player of the year. The Mexican striker remained a key member of the squad both as a starter or substitute under Sir Alex Ferguson, despite the competition of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck, but appeared unpopular with Moyes.
Van Gaal, meanwhile, opted to send him on loan to Real Madrid last season to make space for Radamel Falcao before agreeing to sell him to Bayer Leverkusen in the last transfer window as part of his striker overhaul, which also saw Falcao and Van Persie leave United.
Having played a big part for Real Madrid during the second part of last season, Hernandez has rediscovered his best form for the Bundesliga side having scored 10 goals in his first 14 appearances for the club. De Gea is not surprised.
"In my team he would always play. He was an undisputed starter before and player of the year at United. He can get you 20, 30 goals a season. I would like a lot to play with him again, hopefully it can happen," De Gea told the ESPN Deportes show Fuera De Juego.
"He is a very good friend, we last spoke two or three days ago. We are in touch a lot. He does well in whatever team he is at. He has scored eight or nine goals in very few games. The truth is he is doing well at Leverkusen and everyone knows Chicharito is a goalscorer.
"I miss him a lot in Manchester. We were always together, in everything. He is a very good friend of mine. We went out to eat, played PlayStation, I went to his house; he came to mine. Our families get on well too. His parents would cook Mexican food, my family would cook too – typical Spanish meals."
De Gea claimed Hernandez helped him settle in Manchester when he joined from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2011. "It is difficult for him, for any player, to play little," the 'keeper said. "Then when he came on, he scored. I learned from him when I came to Manchester, he is a hard worker, always first to training and last to leave. He does not relax if he is not playing, keeps working hard.
"They were difficult moments, but everyone trusts in him, knows the level he has. He always does something, always scores goals when he gets playing time. He is showing now he is among best goal scorers in the world."