New Manchester United signing Ander Herrera has revealed that he was a big admirer of club legends Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt while growing up in Spain.
Sealing a £29 million move from Athletic Bilbao this summer, having made 128 appearances for the Basque outfit since departing Real Zaragoza in 2011, Herrera earlier admitted his affection for Eric Cantona upon arriving at Old Trafford, but added that the midfield duo were also two of his role models.
‘I always looked at other players at Real Zaragoza as that’s where I played [as a youngster]. Gus Poyet was a role model for me, and then the national team players like Xavi and Iniesta but so were the United players like Scholes and Butt,’ he told MUTV.
‘They not only played well with the ball, they did great work off the ball too and worked hard to defend when they needed to. They were all big role models for me.’
Earning rave reviews for his performances during the club’s tour of the USA, Herrera made his first appearance in a United shirt at Old Trafford in their pre-season finale against Valencia, and is now looking forward to earning his Premier League bow on the weekend against Swansea.
‘The Premier League is new for me but it is one of the best leagues in the world and I am at the best club in the world,’ he said. ‘I can’t wait to play in front of the fans and I hope I can help the team achieve our objectives.’
The 25-year-old Spaniard was also hugely complimentary of new manager Louis van Gaal, stressing that he has the versatility to fill a number of midfielder roles in the Dutchman’s 3-4-1-2 system.
‘He is our leader. We are very happy to work with him. He is very honest which is what all the players want. It’s great to have a coach who is always very honest.
‘I can play in different positions, but I will play wherever the manager wants me to. I don’t have a preference because I am a team player and the team is always the most important thing.’
What kind of impact will Herrera have for Manchester United this season?