Sir Alex Ferguson has dismissed rumours linking striker Javier Hernandez with a summer exit. The Scot explained the Mexican youngster remained an important part of the club's future.

Javier Hernandez

Hernandez has struggled for first team football this season, in the face of competition from Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck. The 24-year-old Mexican international has made only 15 Premier League appearances but boasts an impressive return of eight goals and two assists from that time. Overall, his performances have been quite fantastic - 16 goals and five assists from 28 appearances in all competitions.

And this sort of form has not gone unnoticed, with Spanish clubs Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid believed to be leading a queue of interested parties. However, Ferguson has now made it clear he expects Hernandez to remain at Old Trafford.

"He's on a long contract for starters and we won't be entertaining any interest. He's a really important player for us," Ferguson explained, adding, "I've said to him it's not easy to keep leaving him out because a 16-goal tally in the number of games he's started is a brilliant record. And he will always have that because he's a fantastic penalty-box player."

"His training performances have been terrific, the same as his enthusiasm. I've no issues with the lad. He's been brilliant, a breath of fresh air since the day he came in," he continued.

However, Ferguson also admitted he was hard-pressed to drop someone like van Persie, who is himself in tremendous form, to accommodate Hernandez. And given United have a host of attacking players, the young Mexican's frustration is understandable.

But the boss denied reports Hernandez had communicated any measure of disappointment and compared him with United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who had the knack of scoring off the bench.

United face Chelsea, in a FA Cup replay, on Monday afternoon and Hernandez is likely to feature in that game. The first match between the sides ended in a 2-2 draw, with the Blues fighting back from 0-2 down.