It is very obvious that Ander Herrera played a major role in the scintillating performance Manchester United had against Chelsea.
The 2-0 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup was a joy to watch – not least because of the efforts of the Spanish midfielder.
Herrera opened the scoring in the 31st minute after running onto and heading home a beautiful cross by Paul Pogba from the left-hand side.
However, his goal was perhaps the least impressive part of the 29-year-old’s performance on Monday.
Indeed, Herrera was all over the pitch against Chelsea, tidying things up at the back by making well-timed challenges, clearances and interceptions while also creating chances at the other end.
Fans have been calling on Herrera to be made captain for quite some time now, after that performance, can the club ignore their calls for long?
He’s the closest Player to a leader
Out of all the Red Devils, Herrera undoubtedly possesses the best leadership credentials.
Although Paul Pogba is also a very vocal player, he’s too much of a free spirit to be able to become serious for a moment and give one of his fellow players an earache when needed.
Herrera, on the other hand, doesn’t look afraid to take one of his teammates aside and tell them what they’re doing wrong – or conversely, what they’re doing right when they need a hand on their shoulder.
Just look at what Herrera did to Alexis Sanchez after the win at Stamford Bridge. The Chilean has not been in tremendous goalscoring form at United, but he was crucial in seeing out the game in the tense second half.
So what did Herrera do? He went straight to Sanchez after the final whistle and thanked him for digging in deep to secure the victory.
That’s what I call leadership.
After taking all these points into consideration, I don’t see how Solskjaer can hold off giving Herrera the captain’s armband for much longer.
He’s the most complete player in the squad
Out of all the players at Manchester United, Herrera’s position makes him the best suited to be captain.
Playing in the middle of the park in a box-to-box role, the Spaniard can communicate with his defenders, forwards and fellow midfielders throughout the 90 minutes.
This is something captains like Hugo Lloris struggle to accomplish – as the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper is stuck between the sticks and hardly has a chance to talk to his players.
It is therefore no surprise that United’s arguably greatest ever captain was a midfielder – Roy Keane – as his position meant that he could be the most influential player in the side.
Herrera’s role in the current team similarly allows him to be the most vocal player on the pitch – which brings me to my next point…
He loves the fans and the fans love him
Although Young has no doubt been a loyal servant to the club for many years, he just doesn’t have the same relationship that Herrera has with the fans.
The Old Trafford faithful adore him and for good reason – he always works hard on the pitch and always says the right thing in interviews.
In the 2-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain last week, for instance, Herrera admitted that the team failed to give fans a night to remember – but promised to come back stronger.
His classy response to an embarrassing defeat shows how much this club means to him – so it’s no surprise fans want to see him wear the captain’s armband.
However, having a good relationship with the fans is not the only requirement for a squad leader.