Ander Herrera’s had a mixed Manchester United career to date, because having played well on a number of occasions, he has never been able to secure a starting position under Louis van Gaal. The Spaniard was signed for upwards of £25m, which is a huge fee for a player who hasn’t been given a fair chance at the club. There have been rumours that he is unhappy, but he has come out and denied them. However something will have to give as he is a very talented playmaker and there will be interest in him, especially if he is to be used as a bit-part player at Old Trafford.
Manchester United have struggled for goals this season, scoring fewer than the rest of the top five, and that is a concern if they are to be considered genuine contenders for the title. They have only scored two or more goals in six of their fourteen matches. Juan Mata has been very good this season, but they have lacked creativity from other areas, which is why the lack of playing time for Ander Herrera has been puzzling for people looking at the club’s attacking form. Last season, Manchester United played some of their best football with both Spaniards in the starting eleven and it’s something they should return to in the coming weeks.
Herrera has started just six matches in the league, but he has contributed two goals and two assists, which is a better return for the season than Wayne Rooney, who has been disappointing so far in 2015/16. Herrera is also hard working defensively, and is capable of playing in central midfield alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger or Morgan Schneiderlin. They have been the regulars for Manchester United recently, which has caused some United fans to accuse van Gaal of being too defensive. They are both fine footballers, but they play similar games and United would be better going forward with Herrera in the side.
The main part of Herrera’s game is his passing ability, which isn’t matched by many in the division. He can make things happen in the final third in an instant, as he showed against Liverpool last season and he displayed his brilliance again when United beat Everton in October. He got an assist and a goal at Goodison Park, but he was quickly dropped again after a couple of disappointing performances. There has always been something a bit odd about Herrera at Manchester United as van Gaal doesn’t give him as much time to improve his performances before dropping him. Meanwhile the likes of Wayne Rooney, Memphis Depay and Ashley Young are given much more time to turn their form around.
Manchester United need to become more offensive in the coming weeks, especially as other sides tire over the Christmas period. They have had some wonderful attacking performances, such as the one at Everton this season and the one at home in the Manchester derby last season. On both of those occasions, Ander Herrera started and his attacking abilities allow the side to be much more dynamic in the final third. He is 26 now and approaching the peak years of his career. If Manchester United can’t accommodate him in their starting eleven, he could leave and that would be a huge blow for the club in the long run as he has the talent to help United win trophies again.