Ander Herrera looks like Manchester United's best partner for Paul Pogba

Ander Herrera looks like Manchester United's best partner for Paul Pogba

The Spaniard thinks he's the man for United, and he might just be right.

Jose Mourinho has used a merry cast of characters this season to try and find the ideal midfield partner for Paul Pogba. This is, of course, in the face of overwhelming evidence that Pogba doesn't do well in a midfield pivot, but that's inconsequential. Michael Carrick and Morgan Schneiderlin have barely gotten a fair shake at the job so it's been Marouane Fellaini who's been handed the keys to the kingdom so far. Recently though, Ander Herrera's been tried alongside Pogba, and he may just be the best option for the Red Devils yet.
Herrera isn't an out-and-out defensive midfielder, but that's not necessarily what United need. They need a player who can dictate the tempo of the game with the ball at his feet, taking pressure of Pogba, and allowing him the freedom to shuttle box-to-box and affect the game on his own terms. Herrera fits that description perfectly, and he's no slouch defensively either. In Herrera's five appearances in the Premier League (two as a substitute) he's averaged two tackles and 2.4 interceptions a game, according to Who Scored. That's compared to Fellaini's average of 3.2 tackles and 2.2 interceptions per match, and Herrera's numbers stack up favorably next to the Premier League's best "destroyer," Chelsea's tiny midfield titan N'Golo Kante, who's averaging three tackles and 2.1 interceptions each match.
Herrera benefits just from having Carrick on the team, though. And he's clearly loving life alongside Pogba.
“[It is going] well! I also have a great example in that position in Michael Carrick, because he has been one of the best players in the last decade, and I think I can learn a lot from him," Herrera said to Goal.
“But Paul is a very strong, very physical player who shoots with both feet, he can dribble, he can defend … he has it all! I can then stay back to steal the ball, to keep the position, and from there initiate attacks. I’m fine, and I’ll try to provide everything that the manager asks of me."
It seems Herrera might get his chance to prove he's the best partner for Pogba. He's gotten his chances in recent weeks, with Mourinho finally dropping Wayne Rooney from the first XI, signaling he may finally be willing to move the team forward into a Wazza-less future. That gives others an opportunity to step up in his absence and prove their worth, and Herrera has stepped up in a big way. He's looked like the best partner for Pogba yet, and he's even earned his first ever call-up to the Spanish national team.
If he keeps playing the way he has, he may be a permanent fixture in that role.
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