Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera says that summer signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic sets the standard for the squad on a daily basis. Ibrahimovic has enjoyed a decent start to his life in the Premier League, scoring four times so far this season and six times in 11 games in all competitions. And Herrera, who received his first international call-up for Spain on Monday, believes the Swede is an example for the squad to look up to. Sky Sports report that Herrera said:
“He’s unbelievable. He doesn’t lose one training session. He trains every day at his best trying to get everyone at their highest level.
“He is very, very aggressive and demanding but in a good way because every day he wants to win every training session and he wants everyone with him to win to keep working so we are very lucky to have Zlatan with us.
“You see the way he behaves. The way he trains even before the session, he is always stretching, taking care of his body, so that is the way a professional player has to behave.
“When I was not in a top team I used to admire these kinds of players and I wanted to be one of them one day, being at Manchester United eight or nine seasons, but it is not easy.
“He’s an example for every one of us not just the young players. I am not young, not old, I’m in the middle at 26 and he is an example for me as well. When you behave as a professional you can be at a top club at 35.”
Herrera’s comments shouldn’t come as a surprise to many, as Zlatan has enjoyed an illustrious career playing some of Europe’s elite clubs. In similar fashion to Ryan Giggs, it seems Zlatan looks after himself and his body, and he could very well play on into his 40’s like the former Welsh winger did. The fact that Zlatan’s professionalism has impressed Herrera so much speaks volumes. Perhaps it will inspire players at United now such as Ander Herrera but also younger players like Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Memphis Depay to look after themselves in a professional manner and show the right attitude to get to the very top of your game.
How many 35-year-olds are starting for a Premier League club, week in week out? Many may argue that’s a sign of weakness but if Zlatan produces the goals, who is to argue? The natural reaction to being a Manchester United player is to work hard, make the most of your ability and the opportunity, and I feel like Herrera gets that. He understands the value of hard work and what it takes to be a United player and what is expected of them, not just from the fans but everyone involved at the club. It seems as though Herrera aims to be at a top club when he is 35 just like Zlatan is now. It is not an unrealistic aim to have, as most could achieve it, however, very few actually do. Here’s hoping Zlatan continues to inspire on and off the pitch.