• Premier League

Herrera hoping to emulate Cantona

ESPN staff
July 24, 2014
Shaw and Herrera keen to impress in the US

Ander Herrera has revealed he grew up idolising the likes of former Manchester United stars Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo after starring on his debut for the club.

United ran out 7-0 winners over LA Galaxy in Pasadena as Herrera impressed in central midfield to kick-start his "dream" move from Athletic Bilbao.

"You always see the best players in the world and I always watched Eric Cantona, Zinedine Zidane and, while he was at Real Zaragoza, Gustavo Poyet, who is now the Sunderland coach," Herrera told MUTV.

"Now, maybe my mirror is Andres Iniesta, not only for football and what he does on the pitch but also because he is a good person. I wish, one day, I could be similar to him.

"I liked [Cantona's] character, he was a winner and always worked hard, he never lost one ball and was always thinking about the victory.

"This group of players [at United] has those same characteristics. We always want to win, we want to play well for the Man United supporters and Eric Cantona had those characteristics.

"Of course, he had personality too. But it was not only Cantona who had personality; Ryan Giggs as well, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"United do not only sign good players, but workers as well. United sign people who work hard, train hard and who are good professionals.

"It is a dream for me to be here because this history is very big and now I have the chance to play here. I have the possibility to show my own character for United."

Seven-star United

  • Manchester United's new era under Louis van Gaal began with a comprehensive victory over the LA Galaxy in California, while life after Luis Suarez started with defeat for Liverpool.
  • Click here for a full pre-season round-up

Herrera was one of two starters who played the full 90 minutes at the Rose Bowl - fellow midfielder Darren Fletcher was the other - and the 24-year-old collected the man-of-the-match award for a display which saw him set up two goals for Ashley Young and play a key role in much of United's attacking output.

Afterwards, Juan Mata spoke glowingly about his fellow countryman's performance, with whom he often linked up.

"He was very good today and I am very happy for him," Mata, who played the first half and assisted Danny Welbeck's opening goal, said. "We have a good connection inside the pitch and outside the pitch and he will give us a lot of good things this season."

Anders Lindegaard admitted that he was surprised at just how well Herrera performed, given the short time he has had with his new team-mates following his summer move from Athletic Bilbao.

"There are a lot of new things to adapt to, especially for him," said the goalkeeper. "He doesn't only have to adapt to the new system, he has to adapt to the whole set-up, which is different to what he has seen before.

"He is obviously a very talented player - everyone can see that. He is good on the ball, off the ball. He is good offensively, defensively, he is very clever. He is a very nice guy as well and seems to be clever and bright so I am sure he has a big future."

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