Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera has recently been on cloud nine after his wonderful performances for the Red Devils gained him a call-up for international duty with Spain. He believes Jose Mourinho’s squad can still win the English Premier League title though they currently stand sixth in the league table.
Herrera reveals in an interview with the Daily Mail that Wayne Rooney used to mock him, saying he would end up playing for England if he fails to feature for Spain soonest.
Coincidentally, both teammates will be playing for their countries Tuesday night at Wembley. But the difference is, Rooney will be doing so for a 120th time while Herrera is making his debut.
“[On Jose Mourinho] We have a saying in Spain,” Herrera says.
“You catch the liar before you catch the lame man. It’s true in life and even more so in football. If a coach is not straight, players soon find him out. Mourinho is very straight.
“He says what he thinks and he says it to your face. He says it when it is something we will like but he also says it when it is something we won’t like.
“The team is enjoying the day to day. Training is very dynamic and everything is with the ball so the players never lose concentration — there are no really long sessions or long team talks.
“He really understands what a footballer needs which is 20 minutes of team talk and then you get down to it.”
The midfielder continues: “I have come here because Mourinho has given me the opportunity to take on a new position and I feel comfortable with it.
“I’m more defensive now, playing in front of the back four. I think I have that ability to win the ball back quickly when we lose it. I have taken a leap forward at United which has allowed me to get into the national side.”
The 27-year-old talked about his expectations for the upcoming match between Spain and England.
“[On Wayne Rooney] He has been playing football at the highest level from the age of 16 and that’s not easy,” says Herrera.
“I reached the elite level at 20 so that’s four years he already had on me.”
“It’s the intensity of Sunday, Wednesday, Sunday, Wednesday, win the league, play for your country, win the Champions League, play again, keep competing, never stop. People don’t always see how those 15 years at the biggest team in England has an impact.”
“This is someone who is just three goals away from overtaking Bobby Charlton as the club’s maximum goalscorer. And yet when we play in the Europa League and the team win two penalties he gives the ball to Paul (Pogba) and Anthony (Martial) because they need the confidence. That is where you see what type of person he is.
“You see it in the dressing room all the time, too. If he is not playing he’s still there talking about how to improve, how we’re playing, what we can do to win. He has never disconnected. When I retire from football one of the things that will stay with me is Wayne’s class.”
“[On Manchester United winning the English Premier League title] We are still there and we should have more points than we have. We deserved to win the Stoke game at home and the Burnley game was incredible—to have 37 shots on goal and the other team have one, and we don’t win the game.
“I spoke to Juan [Mata] afterwards and we had never known anything like it. I remember on 55 minutes thinking: ‘It’s impossible that we don’t win this game.’ Normally this happens once a season but it’s already happened twice because Stoke City was the same.”