Having shone in midweek with a goal against Northampton Town, it was no surprise to see Ander Herrera chosen in midfield ahead of Wayne Rooney when reigning champions Leicester City came to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon. Herrera played alongside Paul Pogba in a central pairing and allowed the Frenchman the freedom to roam further forward in what was his best performance to date for the Red Devils, and Jose Mourinho praised the Spaniard and his performance, saying:
I like him. That’s why I think he will be with me almost every match. Sometimes he starts, sometimes he’s on the bench.
Herrera has now put himself into contention to become a regular starter for Mourinho at the expense of Marouane Fellaini. Whilst Herrera lacks the defensive solidity of Fellaini, he offers much more vision and playmaking abilities in a deeper role, which allowed his £89 million partner to shine with far better service from deep and more room to roam, perfect given the extra space he was afforded without Wayne Rooney in front of him in the middle.
Herrera may just be a short term measure though, as the Sunday People report that Claudio Ranieri is prepared to part ways with former United midfielder Danny Drinkwater, but only if he can get Morgan Schneiderlin in exchange, alongside a fee. Mourinho is said to be prepared to spend up to £30 million on the England international, but given that the former Southampton midfielder has only played five minutes of Premier League action so far this season, a swap deal may actually suit both parties best.
Schneiderlin was one of those reportedly marked as surplus to requirements by the Portuguese manager over the summer, but there has been no suitor found to date for the 26-year-old. The former Saints star could be used as a makeweight for Drinkwater, who played fairly well for the Foxes despite their defeat at Old Trafford yesterday, while Schneiderlin watched on from the stands as he failed to even make the bench. Having departed Manchester for Leicester for a nominal fee in 2012, the Foxes could be in for a great deal if they do decide to sell their star midfielder.
Another man to have been missing out on selection under Jose Mourinho is young star Marcus Rashford. With just three starts from nine games under Mourinho to date, and having only completed 90 minutes once, the England under-21 international already has four goals in all competitions to his name. He has spoken of his frustration at the lack of game time, saying:
It is frustrating but I’m not angry that I’m not playing because I understand it’s difficult. We have a lot of big players and a lot of players in my situation as well who are not getting the minutes they probably thought they deserved to get… I’m just trying to play with freedom like I did last year and the manager supports me with that.
Rashford’s frustration only serves to prove the point of many pundits who feared for his Old Trafford future when Mourinho was appointed given his record with youth development. Mourinho does appear to believe in his forward, so would not want to lose him, but may have to compromise and give him more game time to keep the 19-year-old happy.
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