English Premiership

Herrera happy to plug gaps for United

2015-08-28 10:10
Herrera and Rooney (Supplied)
Herrera and Rooney (Supplied)

Bruges - Ander Herrera says he is willing to play in any position for Manchester United, despite having struggled in a midfield holding role in their Champions League play-off against Club Brugge.

Manager Louis van Gaal admitted that he had considered taking Herrera off after the Spaniard played a succession of loose passes and picked up an early booking in Wednesday's play-off round second leg in Bruges.

The 26-year-old improved in the second half after being moved into a central playmaking role, teeing up the second goal of Wayne Rooney's hat-trick and scoring United's fourth goal in a 4-0 win, but he said he would happily fill in as a defensive midfielder again.

"I am not selfish. I think about the team and this is how I play," Herrera told reporters at Jan Breydel Stadium after his side completed a 7-1 aggregate victory that qualified them for the group phase.

"I am happier playing. If I have to play holding midfielder, I will do.

"Last season, I played more as a holding midfielder than as a number 10, but if I have to play as a number 10, then I want to help my team by scoring and assisting."

Popular with the club's supporters, Herrera signed from Athletic Bilbao last year for a reported fee of 29 million ($44.7 million, 39.7 million euros), which makes him United's fifth most expensive signing.

It took him time to earn Van Gaal's trust, but despite a strong end to last season, the recent signings of Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger have seen him drop down the pecking order again.

However, he does not believe that focusing on one position would aid his chances of holding down a first-team place.

"I think it is dependable on the opposition," Herrera added. "Against an attacking opponent, maybe it is better to play as a number 10.

"But if it is a team waiting for you, maybe best as a holding midfielder. But I always say the same: I will play where the manager wants me to play."

Another player straining for a foothold at Old Trafford is Mexican striker Javier Hernandez, who is hoping to convince Van Gaal of his worth after spending last season on loan at Real Madrid.

He endured an evening to forget in Bruges, missing a late penalty after slipping as he struck the ball and then ballooning a cross from fellow substitute Ashley Young over an empty net from close range.

Rooney would ordinarily have taken the spot-kick, but having already completed his hat-trick at that point - bringing an end to a 10-game goal drought - he stood aside to give Hernandez an opportunity to score.

"It was a great gesture," said Herrera of his captain's actions.

"It was unselfish, but this shows he is always thinking of the team.

"He knew it was important for Chicharito to score, so he gave the ball to him.

"When you are a star, that kind of thing is not so usual, so we are lucky to have Wayne with us."


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

23 October 2016
Manchester City v Southampton, Etihad Stadium 14:30
Chelsea v Manchester United, Stamford Bridge 17:00
29 October 2016
Sunderland v Arsenal, Stadium of Light 13:30
Manchester United v Burnley, Old Trafford 16:00
Middlesbrough v Bournemouth, Riverside Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City, The Hawthorns 16:00
Watford v Hull City, Vicarage Road 16:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City, White Hart Lane 16:00
Crystal Palace v Liverpool, Selhurst Park 18:30
30 October 2016
Everton v West Ham United, Goodison Park 15:30
Southampton v Chelsea, St. Mary's Stadium 18:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Will Jose Mourinho lead Manchester United to the English Premiership title in 2016/17?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.