Quick passes – I believe this is Herrera’s greatest asset. Under van Gaal, United’s passing has been very slow and deliberate. In recent weeks, van Gaal himself has said that United need to improve the incisiveness and speed of their passing. Every time Herrera comes onto the pitch, the spaniard injects speed of thought and movement into the ponderous United side. Herrera rarely tries the Wayne Rooney-esque Hollywood pass. However, his passes are always placed into channels that allow the wider players to find space and stretch the pitch. Arguably, playing Herrera would drastically improve the effectiveness of Di Maria and Januzaj- United’s only players that are capable of delivering a cross that clears the first man. It is also important to note that Herrera’s passing is a marked improvement on both Rooney and Fellaini’s, and would therefore allow United to keep possession – a word that van Gaal hinges his mythical philosophy on.
Speaks English fluently – A big change at Manchester United has been the influx of many Spanish-speaking players (David de Gea, Marcos Rojo, Di Maria, Mata, Herrera). Herrera is one of the few who is able to speak both English and Spanish fluently and would be the perfect medium for conveying in-game tactical changes to the likes of Di Maria and Rojo. Also, by all accounts, Herrera is an affable individual who is universally liked by his fellow professionals. This makes his role in the locker room (and, by extension, the starting XI) more important.
Having established Herrera’s qualities, the next question is – how does he fit into the starting XI?
Except for the folks at Full Time Devils, the soccer world universally agrees that Radamel Falcao does not deserve a place in this team. There is no doubt that Falcao’s movement is impressive, and a case can be made that United’s players should be looking to play him in earlier. However, when the Colombian has received the ball, he has not known what to do with it. In direct contrast to his time at Atletico Madrid, Falcao’s hold up play has been horrific. Along with his poor goal return and awkwardness on the ball, this suggests that the need to drop him from the starting XI is beyond a serious consideration. By dropping Falcao, Rooney could be reverted to the No. 9 or No. 10 role. It is quite shocking that his goal against Yeovil Town was the Englishman’s first shot on goal in 2015. This is made even more bizarre when van Gaal himself stated that Rooney is his best striker at the club.