Can Ander Herrera Fill Paul Pogba Void At Manchester United?

Manchester United have enjoyed a fine start to the season. They’ve won three out of their four Premier League games and they also recorded a comfortable win in their opening Champion League fixture of the campaign.

Midfield maverick Paul Pogba has been a catalyst to the Red Devils early season promise. The French star has two league goals and two assists to his name already. He has blossomed having Nemanja Matic playing beside him and the Serbian protecting the defence.

But the twenty-four year old picked up a hamstring injury in his side’s 3-0 victory over FC Basel in midweek. It’s not the first time the £89m man has suffered with his hamstrings and he could now miss the next six weeks of action, possibly more.

That means that United will have to find an able replacement, who can come in and help keep the momentum going at Old Trafford.

There’s a few options available to Man United boss Jose Mourinho.

Maybe they Portuguese tactician could use Juan Mata in a deeper role. The former Chelsea man usually plays further forward but he has played in the heart of midfield in the past. I don’t think Jose believes Mata  has the legs to help out in the engine room, so I’m unsure we’ll see him in there with Matic.

Dutchman Daley Blind has been used in that role before but with Matic now at United I doubt Mourinho will have another overly defensive minded player in the middle of the park. Matic does that job so well, that you can have another midfielder with a bit more attacking gusto in there.

We know that Jose Mourinho is a big fan of lanky midfielder Marouane Fellaini. The Belgian internationalist replaced Pogba on Tuesday night against the Swiss champions. In that game Felliani scored and definitely made an impact. The issue Felliani has is that Mourinho likes to use him from the bench to shore up games or to add a different focal point to a game if they’re chasing a goal. When he starts regularly the strong midfielder can often offer inconsistent performances.

For me, the standout player in the Man Utd squad that can come in and take-over Pogba’s load is Ander Herrera. 

The Spaniard has been used sparingly by Jose so far this term, he has only played 77 minutes of football (one start/one substitute appearance). That could work in Ander’s favour at this stage as he’ll be fresh and ready to show off his ability.

Now Herrera doesn’t offer United the same qualities that Pogba does. He’s not as dominant on the ball and he doesn’t burst forward with the same regularity.

What Herrera does have is great vision and a desire to add bite into the midfield.

Last season he figured in over thirty Premier League clashes, scoring just once but creating six assists for others in the group. The Spanish internationalist also had a passing success rate of over 87%.

Getting the ball to the wide areas could be vital while Pogba is missing and Herrera could be ideal in getting the passes out there on regular basis.

His passionate displays for United since his arrival in 2014 have led to comparisons with Man United legend Paul Scholes. With star man Paul Pogba out of the picture, the Red Devils could do with the craft, vision and passion that Herrera will give them.

Herrera also offers the best balance to fit in alongside Matic.

Last season he was one of Mourinho’s top talents:

‘Ander has both the manager and the fans. So I don’t think he’s worried about others bringing him to the limelight; he knows that he is having a phenomenal season for us.’

Recent reports suggest that the United gaffer and Ander have had a falling out. Even if these stories are true, Jose Mourinho isn’t a stupid football manager. He will play out of favour players if that’s the best thing for the team.

With Pogba’s injury, Ander Herrera now has a chance to regain his manager’s trust (if he needs to) and more importantly he can help Man United stay on track as they try and chase their title dreams.

Now maybe Jose will start with Felliani against Everton but I am sure Herrera will be the longer term solution for United.

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