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Herrera's the key....

Some time a go I read an article in which Raheem Sterling declared himself to be a goal machine after his Old Trafford failings where Spanish Dave deployed goalkeeping beast mode on the self proclaimed legend.

I looked up the stats, he’s scored 5 since then, I read the article again to make sure I’d not allowed sleep depravation to influence my interpretation of it, turned out it hadn’t, the young tool had in that way that Liverpool players do overhyped himself to a level that beggared belief, but it got me thinking, who at a United if anyone is having the season where their displays would justify that sense of self worth young Raheem is cursed/blessed with (delete as appropriate) and despite the justifiable midfield mentions for Fellaini, Carrick & Mata on recent form, only 1 name justified that level of faith in them to deliver when it mattered, and for me that was Mr Herrera.

You look at each period of the season where we’ve strung together performances that haven’t had you mentally scrolling back to the late 80’s to think of a worse time and that man’s beat the heartbeat of it.

Can he get amongst it and get a foot it when the game needs it? Slippy G’s reaction to Ander’s determination to win the ball showed he’s zero fucks to give about the opponent, if you’ve the ball he’ll do what’s needed to get it back so he and his team mates can implement the will of LVG on the game, it’s not spectacular but it’s vital!

Can he hit the net? He can and does so frequently! Will he ever be a 15 goal a season man? No, most likely he won’t, but the 5 to 10 he’s capable of getting will work wonders in supporting the team and its efforts to get back among the challengers for significant honours, it’s something we’ve been without for some time now, so the arrival of someone who can deliver is a huge boost.

Can he spread the play effectively? Hell yeah, about as well as western ignorance helped spread Ebola through Africa, he boasts both skills, the ability to play the possession retention pass when the killer ball isn’t on, but when it is on he can deliver it beautifully and regularly, I suspect I’ll be having “alone time” moments at the thought of his pass to Mata for his first goal at Anfield until Alzheimer’s robs me of that beautifully formed memory.

Perhaps the best element of the man is that he does all this with a strong desire to see United do well and achieve great things, despite being of Basque origins he plays with a pride of the shirt that shows how much love he has for what it means to play in it.

This was as far as I got in writing up the man’s work this season on the way home Friday, I had a feeling there’d be something to add from Saturday’s game, oh how he did.

Everything above all highlighted and emphasised over a 90 minute masterclass where he delivered a performance level we’ve not seen since the Ginger prince was in his pomp!

In my eyes at least there’ll never be another in the same league as Scholes, he was the best I’ve seen in a United shirt in my time as a red, but if young Ander can keep applying himself as he has done in his debut season throughout the rest of his United career, then I’m truly excited about how far he and the club could go.

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By Jonathan Brook

Jonny is a red with over 25 years experience of the nail biting, arse clenching & inedible pies that are part of being a United fan. He like many of us understands that being a red isn't a hobby or interest, it's a way of life!

10 replies on “Herrera's the key....”

I think you forgot to add something to your post Friday thoughts….. I really think he CAN be the 10-15 goal a season player we have been missing from midfield for a long while. Given he has now scored 7 in all comps this season after sitting out the majority of the winter and that hopefully from next season the club will be back in the Cl (and hence more games)

Its certainly a good target to aim for.

Otherwise, I already like him as much as I like Carrick (and I have the latters name on the back of an aig shirt from a few years ago, always been a huge fan) – Herrera could be absolutely huge signing if he continues the way he has started.

Begs the question then, doesn’t it?

Why did van Gaal refuse to play Herrera for much of the season?

During the pre-season U.S. tour and some of the early matches of the domestic season it was clear that Herrera was the kind of dynamic, energetic and talented attacking midfielder that United needed. Yet, during the mid-season period, for match after match, Herrera was ignored as van Gaal cobbled together a team with a pedestrian midfield, a misfiring attack, playing turgid, cautious, goal-shy football. The best Herrera could hope for was to come off the bench at the likes of Yeovil in the F.A. Cup.

Fast forward to today and United is playing its best football of the season, due in no small part to Ander Herrera (and his partnership with Juan Mata).

So why did van Gaal leave him out for so long, ignoring ‘the bleeding obvious’? Plenty of theories abound: too much partying, a poor trainer, committing an indiscretion with a female member of the manager’s family, running around too much in a game and ‘not getting the philosophy’ and so on.

Cannot say that I have yet heard a satisfactory explanation.

At the end of the season when van Gaal is getting all the plaudits for steering United into a top four finish, I for one will be wondering what might have been. In what has been a far from vintage Premier League season could United have achieved ‘the impossible’ and nicked the title, if only the manager had shown enough faith in Ander Herrera?

Maldy, we e-mailed Everyman a few months back to get him writing on the website for us, afraid we didn’t get a reply. If you ever change your mind Everyman, we’d happily accept your submissions on Manchester United.

What I’m wondering is how much of it is Van Gaal Genius and how much was sheer dumb luck.

I can’t help feeling that the footballing gods smiled on us.. If RvP wasn’t injured and AdM suspended, would LvG have left them out of the squad, and fond this formula which is working so well?

Herrera and Mata (and I suppose Fellani) have been key to this turnaround. If RvP and AdM were fit, we’d probably still have the Roonster in midfield and Herrera and Mata warming the bench. And we’d be 7th in the league.

Or am I just being cynical and LvG is the Genius we all want him to be?

Cheers all.

All comments truly welcomed, it makes the time I spend avoiding actual work to write these things truly worthwhile.

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