Ander Herrera has always been a popular figure among the fans at Manchester United. The Spaniard consistently shows passion on all fronts and makes it clear that he wants to be at the club and play his part. Whilst in recent years Herrera has shown glimpses of brilliance at the club, he had all but failed to cement a first team place at Old Trafford under Louis van Gaal, who was manager at United when they signed him in 2014. However, under Jose Mourinho, Herrera has flourished and become one of the boss’s most dependable players. He has certainly upped his game more than ever, even earning a Spain call-up earlier in the year. But as well as his glittering performances so far this season, it’s Ander’s values as a person that we have all grown to love – he always seems to have time for the fans and show his love for the club.
Herrera’s workrate and energy is second to none in the Premier League, and combined with his strong tackling nature and clinical passing ability, he has fast become a vital part of the team sitting alongside Paul Pogba and Michael Carrick in the centre of midfield. But the 27-year-old has confessed that it isn’t just his hard-working mentality that has seen him rise to the top at United, instead, he relies on a few superstitions to help him on his way.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Herrera said why he wears the No.21 shirt and admitted he gets a lot of stick from his colleagues over his shinpads.
“I used to like No.8 but, when I went to Athletic Club, No.8 was for another player. So I had to decide between 23 or 21. I decided on 21 and had a very good time in Bilbao so I kept the same number here in United. And, so far so good, I will keep it.”
“I have a good story with my shinpads,” he said. “I have had the same shinpads since I was eight or nine years old.”
“Everyone laughs in the dressing room because of them but I am superstitious with that. I like to keep playing with them until they are completely battered.”
“I am not so strange with my boots. The only thing is I cannot play with boots I just wore for the first time. I need to wear them in for at least one week before I play in them. I need to train three, four or five times in them before playing.”
“I would never go into a game in brand new ones as I’d never play well.”
Many footballers are bound by superstition, but for Herrera to wear the same shinpads he did when he was 8 years old is definitely up there with one of the strangest. But despite how odd it may be, Herrera has shown that he is a class act in the centre of the field and we hope his fine form continues long into 2017 – even if it means wearing a pair of 8-year-old’s shinpads.
[Quotes via MEN]