Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has told Ander Herrera that he has to improve if he wants to have regular football at Old Trafford.
The young Spanish international joined the club from Athletic Bilbao for a reported €39 million euros last summer, yet despite the club paying so much money for him has only made 12 league appearances this season and did not play in the big matches against Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal.
The United boss has now told the 25-year-old midfielder that he needs to prove to him that he should get the start ahead of Juan Mata, Angel Di Maria or Wayne Rooney.
“I have to compare him with people like Rooney and Mata, for example, so that’s difficult, they are all at a high level – he has to improve,” Van Gaal told reporters.
“But he’s a great guy, he’s a very great professional also, so that’s not the problem – his problem is he has to compete with high level players and Rooney is also the captain so he has a privilege.
“So then the other places are the place of the position in this system that we are playing now with a number 10 and that’s Mata and that’s Di Maria. That’s difficult to compete against but he did already know that at the moment that he signed for Manchester United.
“When you sign for a top club like he did he knows that he is had to fight but he is fighting.
“He is coming back, there were a lot of weeks he was down but now he is coming back.”
Herrera last started a match in the 5-3 loss against lowly L
eicester City back in September, and has only ever come on as a sub since then.