Manchester United fans have quickly taken to Ander Herrera as one of their own.
The well mannered Spaniard has found his game time limited since joining in the summer but instead of letting it be a source of frustration, he understands that things are different at Old Trafford in comparison to Athletic Bilbao and Real Zaragoza.
Competition for places is fierce. When players like Juan Mata and Herrera can’t get regular minutes, you realise the strength and depth the squad has.
In recent games, he has been given his opportunity by Louis van Gaal and taken it with both hands. Three goals in his last three starts are a testament to how he has maintained focus in training despite a lack of minutes.
In a superb interview with The Telegraph’s Henry Winter, Herrera explained how as much as he wants to start every game, he’s happy to do anything simply to help the team.
“I wish I can play always 90 minutes but sometimes I have to help for only one minute – like against QPR,” he said.
“I am conscious of where I am. I am in Manchester United, the club with the biggest history in England. I have to wait for my moment. But when my moment comes, take advantage of it and enjoy it.”
It’s an admirable and almost idyllic attitude from Herrera. He has never complained, never moaned and never stopped working for his chances to come. When they did, he couldn’t have done much more with them. In a world full of footballers with short term visions and combustible egos, Herrera’s mellow calm is refreshing.
He’s endured a slow start to his career at Man United thanks to a succession of injuries and a struggle for game time but having proved to van Gaal with his recent performances that he more than deserves to be in his starting XI, his career at Old Trafford looks to have had the fire lit underneath it.