Ander Herrera has voiced his ambition to remain at Manchester United and fight for his place following the signing of Fred this summer.
The Spaniard was voted the club’s best player in Jose Mourinho’s first season at the club but only managed 14 Premier League starts last term, with Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba dominating the midfield instead.
Fred’s arrival from Shakhtar Donetsk for £52.7m this window, combined with Marouane Fellaini signing a new contract, has further placed Herrera’s starting opportunities in jeopardy.
But Herrera, speaking to the Guardian, insisted he was happy at Old Trafford and would battle for a place in the starting XI next season.
“I am happy in the club,” he said.
“I love the fans. I am playing for the best team in the UK so my first intention is to stay in the club because I love what I do and I love where I am.”
Herrera has never been ignorant of the fact that Man United’s midfield would evolve and improve, thereby reducing his chances of regular football, but nonetheless remains as committed as he was when he walked through the door in 2014.
He has evolved into something of a specialist player under Mourinho: a midfielder who can be perfect for one game (think of FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur, where he dominated the middle with Pogba and scored the winner) and wholly unnecessary for another (think of, say, West Bromwich Albion at home, where he was taken off at half time).
The days of starting every week are gone. But that doesn’t bother the Spaniard, who Mourinho nonetheless recognises as an important player when used correctly.