In part one of our exclusive interview with Jose Luis Real Casillas, Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez’s former mentor and head coach at CD Chivas Guadalajara, the veteran strategist discussed the striker’s early years and development at his hometown club.
Click here for bundesliga.com's site devoted to Chicharito.
Here, in the second of a three-part series, Real Casillas analyses Chicharito’s move to Bayer 04 Leverkusen, his impact since arriving in Germany and what he would ask the Werkself forward to improve if he were still his coach.
Sitting in his large ground floor office at Chivas’ Verde Valle base in Guadalajara, Real Casillas smiles when asked what he makes of Chicharito’s time in the Bundesliga so far: “I never doubted that Javier would be as successful as he’s been in Germany, but I thought it would take him longer to do so because the Bundesliga is different to the other leagues he’s played in. Logically you’d think he’d need to adapt to his new surroundings in the first three months and after that he’d be Chicharito again, but no - he did it right from the off!”
Click here to read about how Chicharito's career began at Chivas.
‘El Professor’ has also seen clear improvements in Chicharito’s game since he last worked with him in Guadalajara, citing his strength in holding up the ball as a new facet that makes the Leverkusen No7 more “unpredictable”. Furthermore, Real Casillas is effusive in his praise for Chicharito’s work ethic.
“Javier’s constantly on the move,” he explained. “He’s never static and that’s another thing that sets him apart. There are some players who give 60 per cent in certain situations, while others give 70 or 80 per cent. Not Javier. He always gives 100 per cent and that’s very valuable. Every time he’s involved you know he’s given his all.”
Indeed, so impressed is Real Casillas with his former protege that the Chivas youth academy still record Chicharito’s matches for Leverkusen and show clips to the club’s young players as part of their training programme: “We tape his goals and the way he moves too. It gives us great joy to say, "look, this is how Javier moves" and that motivates them. In fact, I can tell you that here at Chivas our best young players are all strikers in Javier’s position, partly because Javier’s influence is a great motivation for them.”