When Onel Hernandez returned to Carrow Road in the summer, there were several conversations about what role, if any, he could play in this Norwich City side. 

At that stage, Norwich's big-money Premier League recruits were still in the building and Dean Smith was yet to finalise how he wanted the make-up of the team to look. 

Yet, when he waltzed through the doors of Colney with a smile on his face, he instantly lifted the mood. 'The Bull is back', said many around the training ground. 

Simply describing Hernandez's impact as off-pitch understates the impact he has made on the pitch this season. 

Hernandez enables a chaos creation on the pitch - he does inject Norwich's play with a greater degree of unpredictability that places opponents on the back foot. 

This season has proven that at this level, his fearlessness with the ball and willingness to engage one versus one with full-backs, especially when tiring, is still a daunting proposition for most at this level. 

But often there is a sense that chaos is created from a lack of control within his own play. Opponents don't know how to deal with it often because Hernandez is just as unsure as to what is about to happen next. 

That could be considered a negative characteristic, but Hernandez has made it a unique selling point. In games that are drifting, he does provide a spark - but it hasn't often enough become an attacking inferno. 

His nickname, 'the Bull', is presumably because of his strength rather than his playing style, which could be likened to when that particular animal gets let loose in a china shop. 

Yet, there is something that makes even objective observers want to root for him. 

He is unapologetically unvarnished, his personality shines through on the pitch and his desire positively impact matches, be it from the off or the bench, is infectious. 

The Pink Un: It's rare to find Onel Hernandez without a smile etched on his face. It's rare to find Onel Hernandez without a smile etched on his face. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Limited)

Hernandez knows what he is but more importantly what he isn't - very few have that same self-awareness. 

In a game of grey, he is a refreshing wash of colour. That is part of the reason he has adhered himself to supporters. 

Sit inside Carrow Road and you can sense it. Very few players are able to command the whole of the Barclay End to cast their eyes away from the action that is unfolding in front of them to sing their chant in unison. 

He also provokes memories of former eras, successful moments and provides a rare source of connectivity to fans in a season where many have struggled to feel engaged with the football club they love. 

That popularity extends to the dressing room; Hernandez is a well-regarded figure but also somebody who represents the values of what it means to play for Norwich. In previous times, he may well have been classified as a 'cultural architect'. 

But he isn't merely a cheerleader. Both Smith and Craig Shakespeare were pleased with his application and desire to be a part of their plans this season after spending the entirety of last season away on loan. 

Hernandez, who was initially informed he was free to leave, took that message as a challenge and managed to convince City's head coach that he had a part to play. Smith has subsequently realised the impact he can have on this level. 

It is often the Cuban that Smith and Shakespeare turn to as they plot changes within games. 

There are certain matches that suit his skillset more than others. When teams sit in low blocks and challenge Norwich to pose questions, Hernandez isn't often the right man for that particular job. 

But against teams who leave space to exploit and even when Norwich are playing on the counter, he still has much to offer. 

Increasingly, it feels as though Hernandez is being utilised as a 'finisher', a substitute who can make an impact against tiring defences. That is arguably where his best moments have arrived. 

There are still frustrations surrounding his end product - especially when he manages to manoeuvre himself into a promising position. 

Still, he runs with his head down. Still, he struggles to complete the final action with precision on a consistent basis. He knows all these things. 

Hernandez is one of the eight players who find themselves out of contract in the summer and, given he will be 30 at the end of the campaign, there will naturally be reservations from some quarters surrounding whether he should get a new deal. 

It may well depend on what level Norwich find themselves at - with Christos Tzolis and Milot Rashica away on loan, the hope is that both would return to the fold upon promotion, even if the reality feels different. 

That would push Hernandez down the pecking order to an extent where it would be tough to foresee him consistently playing in the Premier League. 

The Pink Un: Onel Hernandez is a popular figure at Norwich City.Onel Hernandez is a popular figure at Norwich City. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Limited)

But if Norwich were unable to gain promotion, Hernandez is a more than capable Championship operator who would continue to give his all - but even then he may not be considered a frontline option in what comes next. 

The Cuban international has expressed his love for the club readily and plans to stay in Norfolk upon the conclusion of his career. 

Sentiment won't matter much to those making the decisions - but he will be desperate to prove why he can be a valuable option for Norwich going forwards through performances in the second half of the season.