Ander Herrera was Manchester United's main man in the 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Saturday by scoring a brace, and revealed who he thought was the inspiration behind the Old Trafford club's run of five straight wins in the Premier League - it wasn't Louis van Gaal.
The Dutchman has been receiving praise for how his team has been playing in the the past few weeks, finally starting to put in dominant performances and picking up wins against better calibre opposition, such as Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
It was put to Herrera that he was becoming a key figure in Van Gaal's starting XI having hit seven goals in his 15 starts for Manchester United, but the former Athletic Bilbao star insisted the real star of the show and main inspiration behind the renaissance was the man who bagged the other goal in the win over Villa, Wayne Rooney.
"Wayne is our leader. He is maybe the strongest guy — not only physically but also mentally," the 25-year-old is quoted as saying by The Sun.
“He is our captain, our leader and our character. He shows very, very well what Manchester United is.”
Rooney scored the pick of the goals on Saturday when he brought down a cross with his back to goal twelve yards out and swivelled to hit a sweet strike into the top corner. It was his sixth goal in his last eight Manchester United matches, a tally that has been key to the club now pushing for a finish as high as second.
The Old Trafford captain's improvement has coincided with Van Gaal moving him from midfield to the centre-forward position in response to injury suffered by Robin van Persie and the indifferent form of Radamel Falcao.
Van Gaal must cut duo Adrift
Now Manchester United are sitting in third, a point ahead of rivals Manchester City with the local derby coming up next weekend, Van Gaal must finally be certain that the time has come to place his faith in Rooney next season.
Both Van Persie and Falcao have failed to even slightly convince they can lead the line in the current system at Old Trafford and holding onto them appears a waste of money - they are supposedly two of the highest paid players at the club and haven't delivered.
Rooney has shown the desire and flexibility needed to play the lone front man and, despite misgivings in the past about his long-term commitment to the club, he has taken on the role of captain seamlessly. He is the main man, and Van Gaal must make a show of faith by getting rid of Falcao and Van Persie this summer.
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