Juan Mata has been reported in the Daily Mirror once more heaping praise upon compatriot and new team-mate Ander Herrera, claiming the 24-year-old Spaniard is the ‘complete midfielder’ and will ‘light up the Premier League’.
This is the second time in a week Mata has seen fit to laud United’s new signing with such high praise, following his comments in the wake of the 7-0 thrashing of LA Galaxy. And acts like this will go a long way to boosting the new arrivals confidence during his settling in period. Speaking about Herrera, Mata said:
“He is a very, very good midfielder.
“He’s a good guy, my friend, and we’ve known each other since we were 15. He’s top quality, he can play quick, slow and dictate the rhythm of a game.
“He can score as well. He’s a very complete midfielder and can bring these qualities to the team.
“I enjoy playing with quality players like him and Wayne Rooney.
“We try to play the same way.”
Herrera is certainly drawing praise in from all corners, and has made an immediate impact since joining for £28.8 million this summer. And appetites have certainly been whet, not least after LA Galaxy, where Herrera’s full array of talents was on show. His ability to control the tempo (as Mata pointed to) and dictate the game is something that has been severely lacking in seasons previous.
Then the fact that he looked to play forward passes where others would play sideways was not just a breath of fresh air, but a culture shock as Michael Carrick seems to have lost all sense of what forwards is in the last 12 months. You get the feeling that with the air around him, and what his team mates are saying, Herrera could well become a key member of the side sooner rather than later.
It poses an interesting ‘what if?’ scenario. What would last season have been if the botched transfer deal (potentially the darkest moment of that window on our part) had gone through? Retrospect is a fine thing, but with a player of his perceived quality amongst the ranks, would we have struggled as much as we did? Then when Mata arrived, would he have made a bigger impact than he did anyway, having a player of that style with him?
It certainly poses a what if, but it also gives an indication as to what could be. If a player like Arturo Vidal was to be bought, there’s little doubt in my mind it would be a fruitful partnership, and the experience of Carrick too, it’s a midfield trio to get excited about. It was only one friendly, and it’s the same player saying similar things twice in the same week, but it’s all encouraging to see. I’m excited, and so should you all be.