Ander Herrera has explained how he has established himself as a key figure under new manager Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
After two seasons at Old Trafford, the 27-year-old has emerged as a star performer for the Red Devils this term and has developed into one of their most influential players.
The technically gifted Spaniard is capable of operating in many midfield roles, but Mourinho has primarily deployed him in a deep-lying position, and Herrera feels that it's that switch which has given him a new lease of life at United.
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Whilst he accepts that he probably won't be used by the "Special One" as a number ten, with energy and enthusiasm, the fan favourite has grown in confidence and made this new deeper role his own after producing some brilliant displays.
Herrera on Mourinho and his new role
Herrera told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, per Manchester Evening News: "Personally, it's going very well. I understand what Mourinho wants and what he demands of me."
He continued: "I think that to be a number ten of a big club like this one, you are compelled to score at least 15 goals per season. I've never done that in my career. I wish I could do it but I've had to adapt.
"The most intelligent thing is to adapt when you see a space available in the team and that is what I've tried to do. I think in this new position, playing ahead of the defence, I help the team a lot."
Herrera has played in seven of United's nine league games so far this campaign, and the intensity of his pressing and closing down coupled with his awareness and quality on the ball is something which the likes of Marouane Fellaini and Morgan Schneiderlin simply can't match.
"I can win a lot of balls back and can also distribute play more comfortably," he stated. "I now see football from a more privileged position in terms of anticipating the play, winning balls back and building the play as quickly as possible. I think the coach is very happy with me."
So, Herrera thinks that Mourinho, who praised him after Wednesday's EFL Cup win over Manchester City is pleased with his efforts and United fans certainly are, with some even identifying him as a future captain of the current FA Cup holders.
Herrera wants Spain role
Herrera's fantastic start to the season saw him receive his first call-up to the Spanish national team and he'll hope that, if his good form continues, he will be selected again for his country's friendly against England and World Cup qualifier with Macedonia next month.
On his place in the Spain team, Herrera said: "With my current position, it's more feasible for me to be able to take part in the national team. We nevertheless do have the best in the world in that position, (Sergio) Busquets.
"But I'm comfortable in this position and I believe I got the call because there is less competition in that position. My dream is to represent my country and I'm doing all I can for that to happen. I know I have to continue to fight for a spot."
The ex-Athletic Bilbao star added: "I've never lost hope. I know that (Spain manager) Julen (Lopetegui) follows me and I know I have options."
How good has Herrera been this season? Does he deserve his place in the Spain squad? Have YOUR say in the comments box below!
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