Ander Herrera hasn’t had an incredibly successful two years at Manchester United since his move from Athletic Bilbao. His move coincided with a prolonged period of transition and underachievement at the club under Louis van Gaal, which has led to spurts in and out of the starting line-up for the Spaniard. He has still made 72 appearances since moving from Spain in 2014, and scored 13 goals in the process, but there’s never been a sense that Herrera has become a key cog in United’s team, or a certain starter.
His deeper performance against Bournemouth last Sunday suggested that Jose Mourinho may have a different role in mind for him at the club, and Herrera, speaking to MUTV seems enthused about the immediate future under the Portuguese:
“I had to do a different role in the team and I think I can be important there for the manager. I have spoken with the manager and we are agreed with that, that I can be an important player for the team and that I can help the team in that position. I think I can win a lot of balls back for the team. My instinct is to try to win the ball back for the team as quickly as possible.
“I felt really, really good and not only with the ball, but also without it. The team was very compact, you can feel that always you are pressing the ball when you have two or three team-mates close to you, helping you, so I want to keep doing the same and helping the team.”
“I remember before the game against Bournemouth, the manager said if we score one goal we have to try to score the second goal because we want to be top of the table right now. So that’s a good mentality I think. But of course we have to keep our feet on the floor because the season is long.”
It’s good to hear that Mourinho has a role in mind for Herrera, one of the most likeable figures in the playing squad and one of the more capable players to be underutilised and misused under Van Gaal. The Spaniard mentioning that Mourinho wanted United to build on their opening goal against Bournemouth is music to the ears of fans who saw such an anodyne style and low-scoring side under the Dutchman, and the positivity that Mourinho has brought with him is impossible to ignore. Given Herrera’s talents and Mourinho’s desire to use him, it seems as though there may be a big role for the player at United yet.