Sir Alex Ferguson has likened Javier Hernandez's heading ability to that of Old Trafford legend Denis Law.
Newcomer Hernandez has enjoyed an excellent debut campaign for the Old Trafford outfit so far, netting seven goals in 18 appearances, having got off the mark in rather unconventional style in his competitive debut at the Community Shield in Wembley. The Mexican scored four times in as many appearances during an excellent run in October, including late winners against Stoke and Wolves.
It was Hernandez's first against Stoke that really caught the eye, though, as he rose in the penalty area, then delivered a back header with enough force to power it past Thomas Sorensen. For such a physically slight individual, it was an amazing effort, one that Ferguson feels deserves comparison with the best exponents.
"He has got the spring but he also has the ability to just hang there for a second or two, just like Denis Law and Ian St John," said Ferguson. "Some bigger players had great ability in the air but it is that talent to hang in the air for a fraction that can upset defenders."
A virtual unknown when United confirmed his capture from Chivas in the final weeks of last season, Hernandez has settled in remarkably well.
Also among Hernandez's goals collection is the winner from United's previous meeting with Valencia in September – the Reds face them in their final group game at Old Trafford tonight – another late effort that proved to be the start of a four-match winning run that has swept the Red Devils into the last 16.
But Ferguson is not satisfied just yet. The United boss, who is approaching Sir Matt Busby's record as the longest serving manager at the club, is demanding top spot in Group C as well in order to avoid heavyweight Spanish duo Real Madrid and Barcelona.
A single point will seal it, which is why Ferguson is ready to revert to his strongest side, condemning Hernandez to a place on the bench as Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov are reunited for the first time since the Bulgarian's record-equalling five-goal salvo against Blackburn 10 days ago.
Jermaine Jenas returns from a calf injury but Luka Modric is 50-50 for Tottenham's final Group A game at FC Twente tonight.
Jenas has been sidelined since limping out of the 3-0 win over Werder Bremen two weeks ago, while fellow midfielder Modric has been struck down by flu.
Rafael van der Vaart (hamstring) and Younes Kaboul (hip) are still missing, Sandro is ineligible, while Tom Huddlestone (ankle), Ledley King, Jonathan Woodgate (both groin) and Jamie O'Hara (back) remain longer-term absentees for Harry Redknapp.
Spurs, like United, will want to top their group in order to avoid teams such as Barcelona.