JAVIER Hernandez insists he is no Manchester United hero despite coming off the bench to salvage a point at Liverpool yesterday.
The Mexican has endured a stop-start opening to his second Premier League campaign.
His pre-season was halted by the concussion he suffered on his first day of training after making a belated arrival to the club's North American tour in July.
Hernandez eventually made his competitive bow at the end of August, only to pick up knocks against Chelsea and Stoke that ruled him out of more matches.
His poacher's instinct clearly remains intact though, judging by the way he snaffled the second-half opportunity afforded to him at Anfield, when Danny Welbeck flicked on Nani's corner.
It was Hernandez's third goal of the season and secured a 1-1 draw which, even if it was not enough to prevent Manchester City going top of the table, at least preserved United's unbeaten record ahead of next weekend's Old Trafford derby clash.
"I scored a goal but it is Manchester United that scored," said the 23-year-old.
"It doesn't matter who scored the goals. There are no heroes here."
It is the kind of selfless attitude Sir Alex Ferguson must love.
And there is no denying Hernandez helped change the flow of a typically tight affair that only came to life once Steven Gerrard sent his free-kick through the gap Ryan Giggs created when he split from the United wall.
"It is part of the game," reflected Hernandez on United's defences not doing their job.
"Gerrard scored a similar goal to that at Old Trafford last season, so we need to work a little bit more on it."
Hernandez's equaliser provided another bizarre twist as, rather than going on the complete their comeback, as United looked capable of when they initially roused themselves after falling behind, the visitors were pushed back by a late Liverpool surge.
Twice the hosts felt they had sealed a fourth straight home win over the Red Devils, only for Dirk Kuyt and Jordan Henderson to be denied by David de Gea.
It cemented a view that it had been De Gea's most complete performance since his £18million summer arrival from Atletico Madrid, a view endorsed in private by one significant member of United's backroom team.
Twelve months after he was forced to bulk up in an effort to cope with the sheer physicality of the Premier League, Hernandez is watching De Gea do the same.
And he has been impressed at the application shown by the Spain Under-21 star.
"David is an unbelievable player," said Hernandez.
"He is working day by day and the good thing is that he wants to work.
"He knows that to play in this shirt, first of all, you need to enjoy it. But also he is aware that it is a big responsibility.
"He is handling it very well. He is only 20. He could play for 20 more years if he wants."
The efforts of Hernandez, De Gea and Rio Ferdinand, who excelled alongside Jonny Evans in central defence even though he could easily have been sent off had referee Andre Marriner adopted a hard-line stance on the foul on Charlie Adam that led to Gerrard's goal, helped divert some of the attention away from Wayne Rooney.
After keeping his counsel about Rooney's England saga, starting with the red card in Montenegro that led to the news on Thursday evening that UEFA had banned him from their entire group stage of Euro 2012, Ferguson delivered his own verdict by putting his talisman on the bench.
It was not quite the same as a decision last season to leave him out of a trip to Everton altogether due to the reception he would receive, but it was significant nonetheless and is in marked contrast to the policy adopted with David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, who were both given free rein to play through their troubles.
"I wanted everybody in good fettle and good form without any albatrosses over their heads," said Ferguson.
What the Scot must also have had at the back of his mind was the need not to expose Rooney to the most emotionally draining of three games in a week that includes Tuesday's Champions League trip to Romania to face Otelul Galati before next Sunday's titanic Manchester derby at Old Trafford.