Ander Herrera joined Manchester United for £29 million in 2014, having starred as a playmaker for his hometown club Athletic Bilbao.
While boss Jose Mourinho admitted he wanted more from world-record signing Paul Pogba on Monday night, Herrera put in a man-of-the-match display at Anfield.
He isn’t the finished product yet, but there is no doubt that the 27-year-old Spaniard has been one of United’s star performers under their new manager this season.
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The classy midfielder was called up to his national team for the very first time in the international break and is now surely one of the first names on the teamsheet for the Red Devils.
Let’s take a look at the reasons why Herrera is outshining superstars like Pogba and proving why he is the most complete midfield player in the current United squad.
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Recently, Herrera has been deployed by Mourinho just in front of the back four and the ex-Real Zaragoza youngster has excelled in the holding role.
Technically, he’s comfortable receiving the ball in tight situations and beginning attacks while defensively, he presses and closes people down with great intensity. He is more than willing to get stuck into tackles and boasts an 80% tackle success rate in this year’s Premier League.
He’s taken on more responsibility this term by developing the defensive side of his game and is now having a much greater influence on United’s build-up and style of play.
Unlike many of United’s midfield options like Michael Carrick or Marouane Fellaini, Herrera has the capacity to run from his box to the opponent’s on multiple all day long. He’s diligent, hard-working, full of energy and covers more ground than most during 90 minutes.
Wherever he is on the pitch, Herrera is calm and assured in possession and has averaged over 51 passes per game in the league this term.
His wonderful passing range allows him to pull off almost everything, from quick one-twos and short passes to through balls and diagonal switches of play, not only with class but also with purpose.
In addition to that, Herrera has the skill, quick feet, balance and elusiveness you would expect from a Spanish midfield player in the 21st century.
The huge fan favourite combines his aforementioned technical ability with his vision in order to create goalscoring opportunities when he reaches the attacking third.
He possesses an excellent first touch, knows how to find little pockets of space between the opposition’s midfield and defence and, when given the license to, loves to make forward runs beyond United’s strikers.
Eye for goal
Herrera also has a keen eye for goal, scoring 14 goals and providing seven assists since joining the 13-time Premier League winners.
He is just as effective in a more advanced number ten role as he is in an orthodox central midfield position, and with all his qualities, he can become United’s answer to Chelsea and England legend Frank Lampard.
He’s always prepared to shoot from distance and he has the ability to find the back of the net from range – as he proved last month with his 25-yard thunderbolt in the EFL Cup win over Northampton Town.
United fans absolutely love the way in which he embraces and understands the stature of the club and some have even identified Herrera as a future captain at Old Trafford.
The current FA Cup holders will need him to continue his good form with massive games against Fenerbahce, Chelsea and neighbours Manchester City over the next six days.
Do YOU think Herrera can become a superstar for Man United? Have YOUR say in the comments box below!