Juan Mata has backed new Manchester United signing Ander Herrera to be a great addition at Old Trafford.
Herrera was bought from Athletic Bilbao for a fee of £29 million this summer and is widely expected to play a pivotal role in United’s season this year.
The Red Devils have struggled in central-midfield of late, with many of their options in that position seemingly below the quality required to play for a team aiming for the Champions League, but they are hoping Herrera will be the solution.
And Mata, who has played with the 25-year-old at youth-level for Spain, says that he can bring a lot to United this season.
“We played together at Under 21 and Under 20 level for Spain,” Mata said. “I know how good Ander is and I know he can bring very good things to us.
“He is a very talented midfielder and the manager likes that way of playing. He can also defend very well.”
Herrera will bring energy and tempo to a side that often appeared desperately lacking of both those facets last season.
United’s play under David Moyes was often laborious and slow, but the arrival of Louis van Gaal is widely expected to help them return to title contention in the upcoming campaign.
Herrera, as things stand, has a pivotal role to play in that as he adapts to his first season in English football and Van Gaal’s newly implemented 3-4-1-2 formation.
The system that the Dutchman has introduced demands the central-midfielders to cover a lot of ground and, as such, Herrera’s all-action style and limitless energy seems perfect for it.
He could yet have a new partner in the centre of the pitch, too, with United reportedly on the look out for another high-profile addition in this area and closing in on a deal for Arturo Vidal.
The anticipation for the new season at Old Trafford is high with the belief that Van Gaal can improve the side from last campaign – where they finished in seventh place – widely held by supporters.
It appears the notion is held inside the camp, too, with Mata commenting on how impressive the 63-year-old has been in his initial time at the club.
“He is a manager who feels every session," Mata revealed. “Not just a game but a training session. To him, it’s all important. He is very into it.
“Sometimes he sees a striker or midfielder not make the right pass, he stops the session and tells them. He loves to do that. He’s very temperamental.”
United take on Swansea City in the Premier League's curtain-raiser tomorrow and supporters will be hoping to see Van Gaal's meticulous preperations on the training pitch pay dividends on the field.
How important will Herrera be for United this season?