Ander Herrera the dynamic midfielder Manchester United have been missing for years

Old Trafford

The Spanish midfielder scored twice as Manchester United defeated Aston Villa 3-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Manchester United moved, perhaps temporarily, up to third in the Premier League table with a victory over Aston Villa, thanks to two goals from Ander Herrera and an acrobatic effort from Wayne Rooney.

The win saw the Red Devils move above rivals Manchester City, who they play next week at Old Trafford, ahead of their trip to Crystal Palace on Monday night.

It was a dominant display from United, who were always in control of proceedings and it was Herrera who was the stand-out performer.

The Spaniard has been a mainstay in the side in the last couple of months after a prolonged spell out of the side to accommodate Rooney in midfield. Now both players are in their preferred positions, United are reaping the rewards.

Herrera has been a major success story of Louis van Gaal’s first season in charge. After arriving from Athletic Bilbao in the summer, he has shown all of the attributes required to be a regular for United for many years to come.

His dynamism and energy in the middle of the park have been missing from United’s midfield for a long time, and it is not hard to see why he is quickly becoming a fan favourite and key player.

Herrera is a tough tackler and a hard worker, who does his fair share of the defensive duties, his box-to-box role complements the deep-lying Michael Carrick superbly.

But the 25-year-old’s main strengths lie in his passing ability. Herrera completed 96% of his passes on Saturday and is United’s major creative force.

He not only has the ability to control the tempo of a game but he also plays penetrative passes regularly and is constantly looking to join attacks himself.

United appear to have found themselves a goal-scoring midfielder for the first time since Paul Scholes was at the club.

Herrera now has seven goals in all competitions and has scored five goals from five shots on target in the league.

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