Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera may have taken some time to become a first-choice regular under manager Louis van Gaal, but the Spaniard has now proved emphatically that he has what it takes to start week in, week out for the club.
Herrera’s arrival from Athletic Bilbao last year was one of the reasons United allowed Tom Cleverley to join Aston Villa on loan, with the England international’s game-time set to be severely reduced following a summer of change at Old Trafford.
So how did Herrera and Cleverley compare in the league this season?
Herrera came out on top in terms of passing accuracy, successful with 89 per cent of his efforts compared with Cleverley’s 86 per cent.
That in itself was good for the Villa loanee, who blossomed under the tutelage of Tim Sherwood in the final few months of the campaign.
That was when he started finding his scoring form, netting three times but still only managing half what Herrera did for United.
The Spaniard also provided four assists while Cleverley did not register any – something he will be very disappointed with given his passing ability.
The Villa midfielder came out on top when it came to on-target shooting accuracy, but Herrera outshone him in terms of key passes, duels, interceptions and ball recoveries.
In short, Herrera has found his feet at United and looks like he could yet become the heir apparent to Paul Scholes. But Cleverley has started proving the doubters wrong and a permanent move to Villa could be the best thing for him as he looks to finally fulfil his considerable potential.