Manchester United’s return to the Champions League against FC Basel on Wednesday was an eventful one. The English side secured a 3-0 win, featuring goals from Fellaini, Lukaku, and Rashford. The former replaced an injured Paul Pogba, who has been ruled out for up to six weeks with a hamstring injury.
However, one notable name was missing during the encounter, leaving fans waiting for an explanation. The player was Ander Herrera, who enjoys a favorable place with the supporters of the Red Devils.
The Spaniard has started only twice this season, against Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup, and against Stoke in United’s 2-2 draw in their latest match in the Premier League, being benched for the rest of the encounters. However, against Basel, the midfielder didn’t even feature on the bench.
When asked about the player’s absence, Jose Mourinho said: “No reasons to be out, we are playing only with two midfield players, with (Nemanja) Matic and Pogba, which are playing really well and without reason to change.”
This is interesting, as Herrera proved paramount in the club’s antics last season, culminating in the 28-year-old being named the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year, having provided 11 crucial assists.
However, the change can be attributed to United’s success with deploying two central midfielders, as opposed to a trio. Over the tactic, Mourinho had this to say: “The only match that we decide to play with three (against Stoke), he played.
“Today we went back to two again and I had on the bench (Michael) Carrick and (Marouane) Fellaini, which were also important players in the last season. We have a group of players, and the players must be ready to play and not to play.”
However, with Pogba’s injury, Herrera might see a change of fate, and find himself in the heart of the Manchester United midfield yet again. It is clear that he’ll have to put up quite a fight to secure a starting spot, owing to the side’s brilliant midfield options.
Written by Naveen Kelvin
A writer trying to craft the poetry within football. Purpose in life is to Make Good Art.