It is a unique privilege to captain Manchester United and Ander Herrera bursts with pride when wearing the armband, yet the Spaniard states his displays are fuelled only by his desire to win.
The 28-year-old midfielder skippered the team in the pre-season match at Michigan Stadium, as Jose Mourinho passed the honour around in the absence of injured right-back Antonio Valencia.
With a style of play that is driven by passion and energy, plus an enduring popularity among the United supporters, it is easy to understand why Herrera is one of the team’s leaders.
During an interview with MUTV in the US, Ander explained his opinion of the role and why it does not affect his approach on the pitch.
“Of course I am really proud because it is not easy to be a Manchester United captain, first of all because it is not easy to stay at the club for a long time,” he admitted.
“So I am really proud to have been the Manchester United captain. But even if I am not the captain, I am proud anyway. As soon as I represent this club, I feel proud and I always give my best.
“When you have the armband, it is even nicer, but I try my best anyway.”
‘ONE DAY THEY’LL KICK US OUT’
Herrera was among the most senior players in a touring squad that featured many prospects from the Academy, as well as Reds who had recently returned from season-long loan spells.
Ander had to play a little more than he might have bargained for - 441 minutes to be exact, which is a tally that was only beaten by Andreas Pereira’s tally of 443.
Although they may not have played that often, Herrera is full of praise for his young team-mates and states the experience will benefit them all in the long run. In fact, he believes these very youngsters could one day usurp him from the team.
“It has been very good for them,” Ander told us. “Not intense in terms of minutes because they haven't played too much, but every training session they have learned a lot. They have had the opportunity to learn from Jose Mourinho and Michael Carrick, plus the other coaches. It was a big opportunity for them.
“They know what professional football is, they will keep improving in their teams and with the possibility to come with us to help. I want to say ‘thank you’ to them because they have been amazing with us, helping in every training session. I think Manchester United fans can be really calm and assured that these kids will one day kick us out, because they have the quality to do it.”
‘WE FORCED THEM ALL TO SING’
“We have a really good group,” Herrera said, when asked about welcoming the young players into the first team. “They can feel really comfortable with us and we just forced them to sing on one day, all of them, so we have been nice and we could have been worse! When I started it was a lot harder.
“They are very nice kids, all of them. They are really hungry to play football, to learn and Manchester United fans should be really calm with the future of the club, also because they are really humble.”
Source: Manchester United