Ander Herrera: The Invisible Man
There are some football players that appear to be invisible and this was something that Belgium manager Roberto Martínez alluded to recently claiming that these players improve their respective teams. Busquets, Kroos, Koke are just a few who form part of this group but their discreet breakthrough was barely commented on, luxury players whose role is to fill a gap in the centre of the park.
This perception reflects more on those who observe the game as opposed to those who play the game. In any starting XI, no player is superfluous and there are always players whose presence is vital at holding everything together, as is the case with the three aforementioned individuals.
The name of Manchester United's Ander Herrera could be added to this list. The Basque midfielder who was hailed as man of the match after Monday's FA Cup win away to Chelsea has finally stepped into the spotlight. Herrera is no longer a terrier on the pitch, nor a player who can simply cover acres of ground as that's all he knows how to do (another poor analysis from the casual observer). Herrera, who has Solskjaer's undivided support has managed to get United playing in a cohesive manner, but not as a No. 10 role as he was previously employed, but as holding midfielder, playing simple balls and allowing Paul Pogba to play in a freer capacity. The Bilbao born player has the emotional intelligence to lead through example and words. I was fortunate enough to sit down with him and Alexis Sanchez last week and it's one of the most satisfying conversations I've conducted with professional footballers in recent times.
With his esteemed assistance we managed to see the passionate side of the Chilean striker, hurting from not being allowed to show his worth and a lover of the game. That day, Herrera did what he does on the pitch, opened the space so the star turn could shine and passed him the ball (space to speak). As a result of his influence on and off the pitch, there are calls for him to wear the captain's armband....of Manchester United which is saying something. I'm puzzled as to why more international call-ups haven't come his way but I'm convinced that that is only a question of time.