Ander Herrera's Stats Prove How Much He's Excelling Under Mourinho
N'Golo Kante rightfully earns a ton of plaudits for his boundlessly energetic displays week in and week out which contributed heavily to Leicester City's historic Premier League title victory and will likely be a vital component of Chelsea's probable title triumph, this term.
However, one Premier League star who, despite his abundance of talent, has slipped under the radar when it comes to the middle of the park graft, is Manchester United's Ander Herrera.
The Basque midfielder endured a stop start beginning to his Old Trafford career, never being entirely trusted by Louis Van Gaal after his £29.9m move from Athletic Club. However, when presented with a regular run of first team football, Herrera proved to be the spark United had missed in midfield for so long, combining craft with guile and the odd bit of shithousery for good measure.
Herrera's all action performances for United have been crucial to their recent unbeaten run in the Premier League. Image: PA
Under Jose Mourinho's stewardship. Herrera has been dropped back into a deep lying playmaker role, substituting goals and assists for industry and interceptions. And even though the Spaniard doesn't generate the same headlines as Kante, his stats from this season are comparable and, in some cases, even better than the French midfield machine's.
Sky Sports have shared a comparison of the pair's performances for the current campaign which prove just how vital Herrera is to Mourinho's gameplan at Old Trafford.
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|Stat (PL, per 90 mins)||Herrera||Kante|
|Passes own half||30.41||24.54|
|Passes opp half||50.92||37.11|
As you can see from the table above, Herrera is currently outperforming Kante in amount of blocks, interceptions and duels won on the ground and in the air. The former Real Sociedad man also bests Kante when it comes to passes, making more in both halves of the pitch, while covering only marginally less ground, despite the fact he's played four less games than the former Leicester City man in the league, this season.
Herrera has made a total of 1,028 passes in the attacking half this term, one of only four players in the English top flight to breach the four figures mark in 2016/17.
Of course, Kante is still the standard bearer when it comes to midfield destroyers, as can be clearly seen from how much Leicester have suffered without him this season and how immensely Chelsea have benefited since his arrival, last Summer.
A lot has been made of Michael Carrick's importance to United's midfield, but with the former Tottenham man now approaching his 36th birthday, this Summer, a replacement is integral to Mourinho's future plans at Old Trafford and Herrera may be just the man to fill the void once United's long serving number 16 finally calls time on his career.
(H/T Sky Sports)
Featured Image Credit: PA