Ander Herrera Wins Manchester United's Player of the Year Award for 2017

Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2017

Manchester United's Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera vies with Celta Vigo's Spanish midfielder Jozabed Sanche (R) during the UEFA Europa League semi-final, second-leg football match between Manchester United and Celta Vigo at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, north-west England, on May 11, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS        (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Ander Herrera was crowned Manchester United's player of the season for 2016-17 on Thursday, beating fellow nominees Antonio Valencia and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the coveted Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award. 

He succeeded fellow Spaniard David De Gea, who won the award at Old Trafford in each of the previous three seasons, per United:

According to the Red Devils' website, Herrera topped the closest-ever poll for the accolade, beating out right-back Valencia by just 242 votes, with top scorer Ibrahimovic not much further behind. 

The 27-year-old has made 31 Premier League appearances in 2016-17, netting one goal and providing six assists. He has started eight of the 14 UEFA Europa League matches that have seen United advance to the final, per WhoScored.com.

Arguably, the hardworking central midfielder's best performance of the campaign came in United's 2-0 win over Chelsea back in April, during which he scored a goal and provided an assist while also shackling Eden Hazard with an impressive man-marking job:

He said upon receiving the award, per United's website:

"It's very special for me to win this award because when you see the list of winners, you realise how important it is. And I stopped the record of David.

"I feel [the fans' affection] and I'm very thankful but I think a Manchester United player can never stop; we have to keep giving them the affection back because you can see we don't always perform at our best, yet they are always behind us."

It has not been United's best season, and they will finish sixth no matter what happens in their final Premier League match of the campaign on Sunday against Crystal Palace.

However, there is a strong chance they could end the season with two trophies, following their EFL Cup triumph in February.

Herrera will likely be in Jose Mourinho's starting lineup for the Europa League final against Ajax in Stockholm on Wednesday, and he could cap an excellent season—his third as a United player—with a match-winning performance.