The Spaniard started just his second game of the season against Burton Albion, with his only other start coming against Stoke City earlier this month.
Herrera recently noted that, despite the comparative dearth in minutes on the pitch, he still felt important to Mourinho this season.
But Neville has told Sky Sports that seeing last year’s ‘Player of the Season’ suddenly pushed to the periphery serves as a big surprise.
“I think he’s going to be bit part,” he said. “I think he will play in the cup competitions. You look at Herrera there, it’s a massive surprise.”
“I think the form of Fellaini and the signing of Matic, if they hadn’t have signed Matic, Carrick would have played more, definitely Herrera would.
“I think the form of Matic and Fellaini is meaning this (Carabao Cup) at the moment is their only hope of playing football.”
We should view Herrera’s transition from indispensability to expendability as a positive sign of progress at Old Trafford. Mourinho needed to use the Spaniard so often last season because he could rely on his tenacity whilst others struggled to find their purpose and needed grittiness more than anything during a testing, uncertain campaign.
But the complexion is different this time around. Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Marouane Fellaini have been sublime so far this season, invoking a bold, enterprising style that permeates the entire side, and Mourinho has no reason to change that.