ANDER Herrera is not fazed by the possibility of having to compete with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin for a place in the Manchester United starting XI this season.
After a difficult start, Herrera ended his debut season at United on a high last term. The Spaniard became a regular in Louis van Gaal’s first team, but he will have to fight harder for a place in the starting XI this year following the arrival of Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin for a combined total of £40 million.
Herrera is convinced he will still get plenty of time on the pitch for United this term, despite the midfield additions to the squad.
“We want to play in the Champions League, fight for the FA Cup and the Premier League,” Herrera said after United’s 3-1 win over San Jose Earthquakes in the International Champions Cup.
“When you want to make a good season, it’s not just with 11 players. I wish there were not but there are injuries. And there are good and bad moments for the players so everyone is going to be involved in what I think will be a very good season.”
Very few believed United would be able to prise Schweinsteiger away from Bayern Munich, but Van Gaal managed to persuade the 30-year-old to swap Bavaria for Old Trafford.
That gave Herrera the chance to play alongside a player who he has looked up to for years – a man he believes is one of the top five midfielders on the planet.
“He is someone I looked up to coming through the ranks,” Herrera said. “He is one of the five or six best midfielders in the world and of course I have to learn a lot from him, Michael Carrick and others.
“I always want to play with the best players and Bastian is one of the best in the world. I’m sure I am going to learn a lot of things from him.”
Van Gaal still expects Angel di Maria to join United’s tour of the United States on Saturday despite reports the £59.7m midfielder is closing in on a transfer to Paris St Germain.
Di Maria failed to impress at United last season following his record move to Old Trafford from Real Madrid. The 27-year-old spent a large chunk of the second half of the season on the bench at United and he has subsequently been linked with a big-money move to PSG. Di Maria is currently on leave after his exertions with Argentina at the Copa America, but Van Gaal insists the midfielder will fly to the US on Saturday, as had been originally planned before the tour started.
“He will come on 25 July,” the United boss said after watching his side beat San Jose courtesy of Memphis Depay’s first goal for the club and goals from Juan Mata and Andreas Pereira.
As well as Di Maria, Marcos Rojo and Javier Hernandez are also expected to join the squad on Saturday, when United play their third tour match – against Barcelona at the Levi’s Stadium in California.
Meanwhile, a record Rose Bowl crowd of 93,226 watched Barcelona open their US pre-season tour with a 2-1 victory over MLS champions LA Galaxy.
Luis Suarez scored in the 45th minute and Sergi Roberto added a second in the 56th minute as the Champions League winners largely controlled the match. LA Galaxy grabbed a late consolation goal when Tommy Meyer headed home in injury time. “Considering we’ve only practiced about seven days and had a lot of travelling, overall I come away with a good sensation,” said Barcelona coach Luis Enrique, who was without Lionel Messi and Neymar after the pair remained at home to stay fresh for the new season.
Robbie Keane and new arrival Steven Gerrard played the first half for the Galaxy, who were without four regulars and new signing Giovani Dos Santos, all away on Gold Cup international duty.