Ander Herrera‘s first season as a Manchester United player has been swinging like a pendulum ever since day one.
After a strong pre-season tour, Herrera suffered an injury straight away and didn’t come back until September. When he did, his form earned him a nomination for United’s Player of the Month and he was on a roll, until a fractured rib ruled him out of action once again.
He returned earlier from injury than anticipated against West Brom by playing with a corset but it was painfully obvious how he hadn’t yet fully recovered. Since then, Herrera has dropped off the radar under Louis van Gaal.
Following the good form from Marouane Fellaini in his absence, Herrera has now disappeared from United’s side. For the past four games, he has been an unused substitute and it has left fans wondering why the Spaniard has gone from hero to zero following his injury.
Fellaini has been impressive since scoring his first United goal against West Brom but not impressive enough to completely push Herrera to the sidelines. Yet, that is exactly what has happened. Although the Belgian midfielder has a far better physical presence across the whole pitch, Herrera’s guile and creativity make him a much better all-round central midfielder for creating opportunities so surely he’s the better one.
It’s a curious one. Herrera is fit, training and travelling with the squad yet, despite how integral he was in September, Van Gaal seemingly has a preference for Fellaini’s physicality. Maybe it’s to do with trying to sure up United’s defence but there is no more balance with Fellaini in the side than Herrera because the Spaniard actually gets himself about more and is a better tackler too.
Maybe Herrera isn’t quite fit enough to make an appearance yet but questions will soon start getting asked about why he isn’t playing at all.