Beating Swansea at the weekend was a great boost for a beleaguered Manchester United side who failed to win any of the 8 games prior that. A relief for the players, a relief for Louis van Gaal and a relief for the fans.
But for a certain Spaniard, who goes by the name of Ander Herrera, it wasn’t all that fancy. For a man who’s stop-start Manchester United career has been plagued by failure to impress the manager, you have to give it to him for still being passionate for the club every time he steps onto a football pitch and not giving up, despite his obvious talent.
Louis van Gaal once stated that Herrera brings an abnormal ‘imbalance’ to the team, hence the reason he’s rarely picked. And against Swansea, he was proven right. Herrera completed 53 passes on Saturday out of 62 attempted with almost all of them being sideways or backwards. None of his two crosses were successful, for the role he was playing in, he just had ONE successful take on – in the first minute and layed up just one goal scoring opportunity for his teammates.
Overall, through the season, for his clear energy, commitment and drive for the club, he hasn’t been great defensively as well. He’s won 17 tackles in the 809 minutes that he’s completed this season. That’s fewer than Oscar of Chelsea and Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil who have a reputation for not being immense defensively. To his credit, he played fewer minutes than those two, but for his ability he should be well clear of those two, ESPECIALLY when defending is being talked up. From his Real Zaragoza and Athletic Bilbao days, a lot of his managers spoke about how he was a plug in their teams, linking attack and defence and controlling the tempo of the game, but, he hasn’t shown any of that this season.
He’s got that cult, he’s a fan favourite, they want to see him play every week and not see him rot on the bench. He wants to play every week, because he wants to make it to the Spain side that’s flying to France in June for the European Championships, but if that is to happen, he needs to get over the Swansea game and perform to his utmost best week in, week out and show the fans the Ander Herrera that they know well. Show them the Ander Herrera with the passion and commitment for the team, show them the Ander Herrera who earned an eight digit figure move to Manchester United.