Ander Herrera: Why the Unsung Hero Should be Manchester Uniteds Next Captain

Ander Herrera arrived in Manchester hoping to emulate his form as a creative number 10 at Athletic Bilbao, only to realise that he would have to adapt his game if he wanted to be a regular starter for the club.

It took Herrera a few seasons to find his feet, however, 2016/2017 proved to be the turning point in his Red Devils career. A season which included silverware in the League Cup and Europa League was topped off with the prestigious Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award; a title held by David De Gea for the previous three years.

Ander Herrera

Fast becoming a fan favourite, Herrera entered the 2017/2018 season looking to push on from a season of personal highlights. However, his playing time decreased. With Jose Mourinho preferring to play Paul Pogba in a defensive midfield role alongside either Nemanja Matic or Scott McTominay (of all people), Herrera found himself at the bottom of the pecking order.

Since Mourinho's departure however, under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Spaniard has found himself back in the spotlight. 

In Solskjaer's nine Premier League games in charge, Herrera has started seven and made one substitute appearance; under Mourinho he had only started six of the previous 17 league games. And it's no coincidence that the one game Herrera didn't play was one of the few disappointing results the Red Devils have endured in recent weeks: a 2-2 draw with Burnley at Old Trafford.  

It is the Spanish international's most recent display in the FA Cup win over Chelsea that has led to people finally taking notice of his importance to Solskjaer's side. 

On Monday night, Herrera showed the world just how integral he has become at Man Utd; winning the majority of tackles he attempted, and also instructing his teammates where to be and when to be there. 

After the all-action performance at Stamford Bridge, it comes as no surprise that Herrera leads Man Utd in most tackles and interceptions this season. 

Off the pitch, Herrera is also articulate when speaking about the game, and in a recent interview showed his class when asked if he sees himself as a leader for United:

"To be honest, I've been told a lot of times that I should wear the armband on the field, but I don't need it... if one day the team needs me to lead in one specific moment, then I will do. But I don't go crazy with that. I think that the best thing a team can have is different leaders in different moments."

An ongoing subject amongst pundits since Sir Alex Ferguson left has been that United are lacking a leader on the pitch. With Ander Herrera now being allowed to shine in a rampant Manchester United team, it's not long before he escapes from under the radar and asserts himself as the front runner to take the armband. 

Source : 90min