3 Manchester United players who need to prove themselves again this season
It is still questionable whether Manchester United are flourishing under Jose Mourinho or not.
A lot of United faithful firmly believe that Mourinho is the right man to restore the glory days at Old Trafford. Others, meanwhile, are baffled by his pragmatic approach and repeatedly end up criticizing his tactics.
A lot was expected from Mourinho in his second season in charge after he won the Europa League and the EFL Cup in his debut season. But it was a huge let-down for United as they crashed out from the Champions League in the knock out stages and lost the FA Cup final.
They did manage to finish second in the Premier League, but that was ludicrously distant from Manchester City.
It's not about the manager always; the players also fail to live up to the expectations sometimes. Despite that, the manager and fans keep their faith in them.
But of course, the players need to return the favor as well. Here we look at three such players who need to buckle down this season and repay the faith shown in them.
#3 Ander Herrera
The signing of Nemanja Matic had a big impact on Ander Herrera. The competition for a place in the starting XI stiffened, limiting Herrera's game time.
Herrera was a regular starter before Matic’s arrival. In his debut season, Mourinho preferred him alongside Paul Pogba in the central midfield role - in a 4-2-3-1 system. Herrera was a consistent performer that season.
He played the most minutes of league football among the outfield players after Pogba and Antonio Valencia. However, when United signed Matic last summer, it was obvious that he would replace Herrera in the midfield.
Of course, the replacement did nothing wrong. On the contrary, it proved to be a masterstroke. Matic was like an immediate upgrade to Herrera.
The Spaniard found himself under the shadow of Matic, but he kept working hard and delivering brilliant performances whenever the team needed him.
No doubt his game time has reduced, as he started just 13 games last season as compared to the 27 he did the season before. United have added another member in the midfield department in Fred and thus, the fight for a place is even tougher.
This is the time for Herrera to make his mark and prove that he can still keep players like Eden Hazard at bay, and perform like he did in the match against Chelsea last year at Old Trafford.
The last season can be termed as arguably the worst for Herrera since his arrival from Athletic Bilbao back in 2014. Still, he is the kind of player who will always fit in Mourinho’s system - a proper box-to-box player who also loves to defend with his heart out.
Herrera has the opportunity to impress this season, and regain the trust of the manager. Only time will tell whether he succeeds in that.