Garth Crooks has launched a bizarre attack on Ander Herrera following the midfielder’s powerful display against Tottenham Hotspur, describing the Spaniard as “the most irritating player in the Premier League”.
Herrera was a force of nature in the middle, snapping at the ankles of Spurs players all afternoon and stretching every sinew to get around the pitch in militant fashion.
The 28-year-old’s sheer graft and fight was rewarded with a winning goal just after the hour mark, slamming home low past Michel Vorm following some good work from Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.
But Crooks, whose opinions in his BBC ‘Team of the Week’ have been met with growing ridicule, started off his discussion of Herrera’s performance by describing him as an “irritating” player.
“He looks like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. But if he’s not pulling your shirt, he’s leaving his foot in on his opposite number and if anyone touches him he goes down as if he’s been poleaxed.
“Against Spurs in the FA Cup semi-final, Herrera did all of those things and much more. He took care of Mousa Dembele in the first half and then imposed himself on the rest of the game.
“In fact, he seemed to be everywhere. For your performance to be so infectious and yet somehow remain on the field takes some doing. I suppose that’s what Jose Mourinho calls a winning mentality.”
I’m sure that Herrera, should be bother to read this entry from Crooks, would read the first sentence and start smiling wryly, nodding his head in amused agreement.
For a player who, in comparative terms, has hardly featured for Mourinho this season to come into the biggest game of the campaign and produce a performance of such sweeping tenacity and dedication is a testament to the character of Herrera – a man who, at the bottom of it all, will do whatever it takes to help his team win.
He was kicking at ankles, pulling shirts, making professional fouls, even grabbing the kicking leg of Dele Alli at one point. And he was, more importantly, slowly but surely stifling Spurs, unsettling and frustrating their midfield. I’m sure they were thinking the same thing as Crooks on the Wembley pitch – especially after he fired United ahead.