Ander Herrera talks about why Van Gaal dropped him and how Rooney insults him in Spanish
Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera has hinted that his failure to abide by manager Louis van Gaal’s tactical instructions might have been the reason he was dropped from the United line-up earlier this season. The Spanish midfielder arrived at Old Trafford from Athletic Bilbao last summer and, despite being a regular starter at the start of the season, went missing from the first XI soon after.
Herrera has made his way back into the team since and in an interview made indications towards the real reason he was dropped. In an interview with El Pais, the midfielder described his relationship with the Dutch manager at Old Trafford.
He said, “He seems a good guy, with a personality that maybe causes clashes in the first meetings, but good behind it all. He likes discipline and doesn't believe in the egos of the dressing-room, that all are the same under his management. With me, he spoke of what he wanted of me.
“He loves possession and doesn't like to risk the ball. He likes long spells of possession and to keep the ball because he believes space will be created by keeping to positional play because the team has the quality to find you.
“He got angry with me at the start because I went to look for the ball because I always wanted to have it. I should have waited.”
Van Gaal a very different coach to Marcelo Bielsa: Herrera
Herrera also suggested that Van Gaal maintained a very different philosophy from his former manager at Athletic, Marcelo Bielsa.
He said, “In attack, [he is the opposite of Bielsa] because Van Gaal believes in greater numbers out wide, in triangles, and to not run with the ball.
“Bielsa liked to have the ball to attack. But he believes in the movement of the player, in getting behind the lines and breaking space.
“We know Bielsa's perfect goal was one full-back crossing for the other full-back to arrive. He likes to arrive with six or seven. But come on, both are football maestros.”
‘Rooney and Carrick are the leaders in the dressing room’
Herrera also described his new life in the Red Devils dressing room and stated that Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick were the undeniable leaders while labelling Ashley Young as the ‘joker’.
The 25-year-old said, “I think there is a lot of respect for Rooney and Carrick for the years they've spent at the club. But I think that, like (David) De Gea tells me, before it was more hierarchical with figures like (Rio) Ferdinand, (Paul) Scholes, (Ryan) Giggs.
“Rooney is good fun because he's very open and insults us in Spanish, but I prefer to talk football with him because he likes boxing a lot and he can try it on me!
“Carrick is very serious, but he proves another Bielsa phrase: 'Leaders don't need to talk much, but they're listened to when they do speak’.
“Ashley Young is the joker but I think the Spanish speakers have more of a sense of humour. Maybe it's because we always go together, and the English try to be alone more. (Angel) Di Maria never stops, (Radamel) Falcao and (Antonio) Valencia are very open.”
Premier League the right move for me: Herrera
Herrera also insisted that the Premier League was the right move for him to progress as the English game is more ‘patient’ than in Spain.
“The Premier League is the best place to succeed because people are patient. In Spain, there's more commotion around you from the press or fans.
“Bielsa used to tell me patience is shorter every time because fear of losing or failure prevails. In England, it's the opposite.”
Herrera, when asked about the June 10 hearing of the match-fixing case involving Real Zaragoza and Levante in 2010, said, “I'm still surprised because I thought I played a normal game, but I will help in whatever they ask of me.”