As Manchester United fans wake-up to Sky Sports reports that midfield star Michael Carrick has suffered yet another injury, their dismay might be tempered by the fact that they have sufficient back up in Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin.
As a result of the injury, Carrick has been forced to pull out of international duty, presenting an opportunity for one of United's other central midfielders to establish themselves in his absence - namely Ander Herrera.
The 25-year-old is a firm fan favourite due to his all-action style of play and yet plays a bit-part role at the club, with Louis van Gaal not as enthused by the midfielder as the Old Trafford faithful.
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Herrera had to wait five games for his first start of this season which came in the second leg of the Champions League qualifier against Club Brugges, receiving a yellow card just 13 minutes in for a heavy challenge. As a result, Van Gaal later admitted that he contemplated subbing him off.
Luckily for United, however, the Dutchman did not go with his gut as Herrera bagged a goal and assist in the game.
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Competition for places in the centre of the park at United are at an absolute premium this season. Van Gaal has alternated between the elder-statesmen of Carrick and Schweinsteiger for the deep-lying role in front of the defence, while tough-tackling Schneiderlin seems to be the Dutchman´s preferred choice in the more central role.
Indeed, Herrera has had to play in the unfamiliar no.10 role to get game time, and while his smart passing and willingness to run has seen him make a decent effort of the task, it is not a role he is best suited to.
The Spaniard's forte, instead, is as a box-to-box midfielder - a role that perfectly compliments his energy, creativity and fearlessness to get stuck in.
In the latter half of last season he showed glimpses of why United shelled out £29 million for his services. His eight goals from midfield represented the highest total scored by a centre-midfielder in a United shirt since Paul Scholes managed twelve way back in 2004/05.
And yet despite his impressive season, Van Gaal does not appear to retain the same faith in the Spaniard's ability, perhaps owed to the fact that Herrera's signing was completed before the Dutch manager began his tenure.
While this might be the case, however, in Carrick's absence, with Schweinsteiger's fitness wavering and Daley Blind fancied more as a centre-back, Herrara has the ideal opportunity to cement his place in the starting line up.
The type of player that he is would more than compliment the combative Schneiderlin, and combined, United might just find their most efficient pairing amidst a battle to regain form.
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