Ander Herrera has insisted that he still feels valued by Jose Mourinho this season despite only making one start so far this season.
The Spaniard, who claimed the Sir Matt Busby ‘Player of the Year’ award back in May, was included from the start for the 2-2 draw with Stoke City and made substitute appearances against Swansea City and Everton.
But he has been notably sidelined by the boss in comparison to last season, with Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Marouane Fellaini serving as Mourinho’s three preferred midfielders.
However, speaking to the Telegraph, Herrera made it clear that he felt just as valued by the 54-year-old, noting that challenging for silverware is a team effort.
“I feel as important as I did last season,” he said. “I am a team player and I always say that and if the manager decides to keep me on the bench I will be ready. I said that last season and it is the same now. I know how lucky I am to play for Manchester United.”
“I will try to enjoy every minute I have on the pitch. I want to win titles and feel part of the team and feel important and I really do feel important because the manager makes me feel important.”
“I can learn from Nemanja and from Felly [Fellaini], he has some abilities that we don’t have in midfield. Paul Pogba is our most free midfielder and I can learn from him as well.
“Felly was outstanding against Everton. Nemanja has been very good in every game and I am just going to be ready when the manager wants me to play. I am happy to be part of Manchester United. When you play for the biggest club it is not so easy to play every game, every minute.
“When I see Nemanja, Felly or Paul of course it is a motivation for me. My team-mates make me a better player and I think I make them better players. This is a team and when I retire I want to be remembered in this club. This is the way I have to follow. I work hard on the pitch and in training every day and I will never regret my time here.”
There can be nothing more stunting for a team’s development than somebody who doesn’t recognise they are part of a team. Players who see their exclusion from a starting XI or match-day squad as synonymous with a direct attack on their shortcomings only cause ruptures and dig themselves deeper into a hole.
And Herrera understands this notion better than most. Above anything, he wants United to succeed. Personal gain cannot be at the forefront of every player’s mind. Herrera knows that he will receive opportunities to contribute at Old Trafford over the next eight months; more importantly, however, he knows that he is part of a truly promising group of players.