Ander Herrera Aims to Emulate Andres Iniesta, Eric Cantona at Manchester United

Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2014

Manchester United's Ander Herrera walks on the field during the first half of a friendly soccer match against the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo)
Uncredited/Associated Press

Manchester United's latest midfield addition, Ander Herrera, will use Andres Iniesta and Red Devils legend Eric Cantona as his inspiration as he attempts to become a key player under Louis van Gaal this season.

The player explained in an interview with United's MUTV that he has always admired the pair, according to Mark Froggatt of 

Speaking of Iniesta, Herrera said: "Now, maybe my mirror is Andres Iniesta, not only for football and what he does on the pitch but also because he is a good person. I wish, one day, I could be similar to him."

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 11: Manchester United player Eric Cantona (c) beats Steve Watson and David Batty (r) during the FA Charity Shield match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 1996 in London, England
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Herrera went on to speak of his admiration for Cantona and how United breed personality within their ranks:

I liked his character, he was a winner and always worked hard, he never lost one ball and was always thinking about the victory. This group of players [at United] has those same characteristics. We always want to win, we want to play well for the Man United supporters and Eric Cantona had those characteristics. Of course, he had personality too.

But it was not only Cantona who had personality; Ryan Giggs as well, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Herrera had the perfect start to his United career, as he made his debut for the club against LA Galaxy on Wednesday night. United ran out 7-0 winners in the Chevrolet Cup with Herrera receiving many plaudits for his performance in the match.

Presenter and United supporter Eamonn Holmes tweeted about the victory and singled out the Spaniard for his display:

Herrera is the type of midfielder United have been crying out for. If David Moyes had managed to complete Herrera's transfer 12 months ago, he would surely have had more success as a coach during his ill-fated spell.

The former Athletic Bilbao man has shown in La Liga just how intelligent he is, and his versatility will be an asset to Louis van Gaal as he looks to build a winning side.

He played 33 times for Bilbao last term in the Spanish top division, per, and has shown his consistent ability on the ball for a number of seasons.

Uncredited/Associated Press

Herrera is not your typical defensive midfielder—he has the ability to control large areas of the pitch—and his passing style will suit Van Gaal's philosophy of attacking football.

Michael Carrick has been United's metronome for many seasons, but surely that baton will now pass on to Herrera.

If United can bring in another top-class midfielder, they will fancy themselves for a genuine challenge for the title this season. Further strengthening is needed in defence also, but it has been United's midfield that has been in huge decline for many seasons. 

Herrera could soon find himself the darling of the Stretford End if he achieves the level his talents appear to demand, and if he manages to deliver a fraction of the quality displayed by Iniesta or Cantona, United have signed a real talent.