Ander Herrera is sorely missed at Manchester United.
There was a collective sigh amongst the Old Trafford faithful when the Spaniard left at the end of his contract in 2019 because his impact at the club across four seasons was severely underrated.
Sure, Herrera might not have been the second coming of Roy Keane, but his combative and practical approach in the heart of midfield made him an incredibly shrewd purchase at £24 million.
Herrera: Man Utd’s underrated gem
In fact, there’s good reason to think that he’s one of the Red Devils’ greatest signings of the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era and no doubt plenty of supporters would take him back in a heartbreak.
However, for all the brilliant moments that Herrera produced at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’, there’s no denying that his 2016/17 season under Jose Mourinho proved to be a high watermark.
Man Utd vs Liverpool Preview (Football Terrace)
Playing 50 times in all competitions, winning two trophies and being named Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year, Herrera established himself as one of the finest midfield engines in English football.
And the masterpiece amongst that masterpiece? Well, that would have to be Herrera’s Herculean man-marking job on Eden Hazard in a year where Chelsea romped their way to the league crown.
Herrera’s man-marking job on Hazard
Not only did Herrera bag a goal and an assist in United‘s 2-0 triumph over the eventual champions, but he ensured that their star player barely got a touch of the ball with his indefatigable tracking.
In fact, two years on, Herrera explained United’s plan of attack in an interview with The Athletic: “Jose and I knew that Hazard was by far the best player in the Premier League at that time.
“To win the game, we couldn’t let him touch the ball. I told him: ‘Jose, I’m ready if you need me to mark him, if he wants to go to the bathroom, I’ll follow him.'”
Herrera’s highlights vs Hazard and Chelsea
We can only imagine how much that would have pleased Mourinho, but even the ‘Special One’ must have been taken aback by the performance that he managed to get out of Herrera against Hazard.
Don’t believe us? Well, be sure to check out clips of Herrera making sure that Hazard never got a moment to himself, as well as the Spaniard’s overall highlights, down below:
Poor Eden must have been tearing his hair out!
Tactical masterclass from Herrera
Just imagine sticking on one of the greatest Premier League players in history for the best part of 90 minutes and then popping up with two goal contributions of your own for good measure.
Sure, Herrera’s goal might have taken a massive deflection off of Kurt Zouma, but there could be no denying the quality of his assist for Marcus Rashford with a truly sumptuous through ball.
However, for all the bells and whistles that Herrara put upon his masterclass for good measure, it’s safe to say that it will always be remembered for making a prime Hazard look distinctly average.