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Man Utd legend Cole has no fears Hernandez will fall victim to 'second-season syndrome'

Former Manchester United striker Andrew Cole is confident that Javier Hernandez will continue the form he showed last season in his first full campaign in the top flight. The Mexican's introduction to the Premier League went far better than even boss Sir Alex Ferguson expected, the 22-year-old went on to score 20 goals and a place in the Champions League final, ahead of both Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen.

Cole, who bagged 12 goals in 12 Premier League games during his first half-season at Newcastle, then followed up with 34 in 40, has no doubts Hernandez is up to the task.

"Why shouldn't he withstand second-season syndrome," said Cole, who was carrying out an organised signing session at the home of United's sponsors Aon.

"He is very fortunate. He wants to learn and become a better player. If you have that attitude, you have a great chance."

Cole does accept next term will be a testing time.

"If he plays half as well as he did last season and scores half as many goals, everyone would be absolutely delighted with him," said Cole.

"He has already proved people wrong. No-one expected him to do so well.

"It was a new team, a new culture and new football. But the way he turned it around was phenomenal.

"The thing is, in the Premier League, if you have good movement, you always have half a chance and I love his movement.

"He pulls defenders into areas where they don't want to go.

"You don't see a lot of central defenders working the centre-backs but he does. That is why he gets so many chances to score."

An additional benefit has been Wayne Rooney is given more time and space as defenders concentrate on the former Chivas player.

"Defenders have to think," said Cole. "They are worried about Javier's movement which allows Wayne can do what he does. "It is nice to see and when they are playing well, it is very hard to stop."

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Dave Williams

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