Ander Herrera had his best game of the season so far as he scored twice against relegation threatened Aston Villa and generally gave a brilliant performance.
Thanks to that result and Manchester City’s Monday defeat, the Red Devils are now sitting in third and have their eyes firmly set on stealing second place from Arsenal who are only one point ahead.
The midfielder joined Manchester United last summer from Spain’s Athletic Bilbao for £29m as Louis van Gaal set about improving what was considering a severely lacking key area for the club.
The 25-year-old has found a place for himself in United’s winning line-up starting the last eight games which include their 3-0 win at Tottenham and their 2-1 win against northern rivals Liverpool. The Spaniard played all 90 minutes for the Red Devils against Aston Villa and brought his goal tally up to seven for the season.
Now that United are winning and have finally gelled as a team it is no surprise that Herrera has confessed a desire to stay at Old Trafford for many more years as he believes United are the right club to take his career forward with the Premier League proving both exciting and highly competitive.
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When Herrera initially joined United he did start games, but over time he was reduced to playing a bit part role. Now he is Van Gaal’s first choice in central midfield along with recently fit Michael Carrick, both of whom are adding that spark of creativity that was severely lacking last season.
The box-to-box midfielder has created five assists in his maiden season and has been praised for his dribbling and ability to make key passes. Herrera is a very attacking minded player who is happy to tackle and track back to help his teammates out. He has shown great maturity even when he was finding it difficult to feature in games, particularly between October and February when a revolving door of players were taking turns filling his place as Van Gaal experimented with formations and line ups. Herrera just bided his time and, through his hard work and dedication, the position is now his.
United still have to play league leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, but their next big test will be against Manchester City in Sunday’s derby. City’s defeat to Crystal Palace further proves that their season is in decline and they will not be retaining the title, but United still need to be at their best for this crucial game which City edged 1-0 last time they met.
Herrera is likely to start again and is sure to still be in high spirits and confidence following last weekend’s heroics. He may not score but the young man is sure to put in a shift for his club and an assist is not unlikely.
As long as Van Gaal’s men continue their five match unbeaten run then the Red Devils will be playing in the Champions League next season, which will be a great stage for Herrera to showcase his ability and composure which could led to the Spaniard receiving his first senior cap.
United were crying out for more capable midfielders last season so the addition of a hard working and creative player like Ander Herrera should put the club in good stead for many years to come. Herrera has adapted well to the demands of the Premier League and with the support of the United coaching staff he should grow and development further.