Ander Herrera speaks out about captaining Manchester United

by Tanveer Arayan

Ander Herrera has spoken out about captaining Manchester United in the future, noting that he was flattered by the prospect but focused on his current role under Mourinho.

Wayne Rooney, the side’s current captain, has only made four Premier League starts in 2017 and, according to reports, could depart Old Trafford over the summer.

Michael Carrick has worn the armband most regularly this season, with Chris Smalling, Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Young all occasionally adopting the role as well.

But Herrera, when asked about the possibility of captaining United, was quick to note that such a notion was surprising to him.

“The thing is that Michael Carrick ends his contract and I do not know what will happen with his future. Rooney, it’s unknown if he will continue or not,” he said.

“It has been a surprise. I am very grateful that people value me like this but I don’t think it is something that is going to happen soon. Being captain of Manchester United are big words. Look at the captains that this club have had. I am flattered and grateful but it is necessary to respect the time and the number of games.”

The distinction between Herrera off the pitch and Herrera on it could not be more defined: in a non-competitive setting, often behind a camera, the Spaniard is an affable, endearing individual, always smiling and conversing without strain. Visibly polite and open. The sensible one on a night out; that’s the sort of aura he has.

On the pitch, however, that almost angelic face feels immensely deceptive: he is everywhere, ruthlessly cutting down opponents and rampaging across the pitch with an air of raw grit and desire to batter his opposite number. The 27-year-old, in the space of one season, has gone from useful midfield asset to indispensable aggressor at Old Trafford.

And that, you sense, is enough reason to hand him the captaincy alone. The captain’s armband has moved around freely this season, precipitating uncertainty when it comes to an important footballing question: who is in charge on the pitch?

With this in mind, giving Herrera the status of ‘official enforcer’ through the captaincy would make perfect sense once Rooney and Carrick do finally hang up their boots.

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