herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Herrera to snub new Barca boss Valverde

Ander Herrera. Pic: PA
Ander Herrera. Pic: PA

Ander Herrera will snub any approach from Barcelona to lure him to the Nou Camp from Manchester United.

Reports from the Catalan capital have suggested the 27-year-old is a priority for new manager Ernesto Valverde, who was unveiled yesterday evening.

Valverde, who Herrera cites as one of the biggest influences on his career, succeeds Luis Enrique and is charged with winning back La Liga from Real Madrid and dislodging them in the Champions League rankings. Real contest this Saturday's final in Cardiff against Juventus.

Valverde is understood to have identified Herrera as the dynamo in the engine room to provide the base for Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar to revive Barca post-Enrique.

Valverde was Herrera's manager at Athletic Bilbao in the 2013-14 season before he moved to Old Trafford for £27m in Louis van Gaal's era.

And Herrera has recently hailed Valverde when he was listing the influences on his career saying: "Valverde made the biggest impression on me due to the way he was in the dressing room and because he's a fantastic guy. Not just in terms of football, but for his way of being, the way he was in the dressing room, working with those that did and didn't play. He is a crack."

Herrera broke into the Spain squad this season but was then left out 10 days ago by manager Julen Lopetegui for a friendly against Colombia ahead of a World Cup qualifiers versus Macedonia.

However, Valverde is reported to want United's recently crowned Player of the Season.

Herrera was also named Man of the Match in the Reds Europa League final win against Ajax in Stockholm.

But United needn't worry about Barcelona circling and taking him back to Spain because Herrera is understood to have no desire to quit Old Trafford and move to the Nou Camp.

Meanwhile, Welsh teenager Regan Poole accepts he has to bide his time to make his mark at United.

Poole made his United debut on the same February 2015 night that Marcus Rashford announced himself to the football world with two goals against Danish outfit Midtjylland in the Europa League.

While Rashford has gone on to become a United regular and a full England international in the intervening 15 months, central defender Poole has settled back into the reserves at Old Trafford.

But, ahead of Wales' Toulon Tournament opener against hosts France tonight, Poole remains determined to show his worth to United boss Jose Mourinho.

"I've had a little taste of the first team and that's what I want again," said Poole, who is eight months Rashford's junior and turns 19 next month. But I'm only 18 and sometimes you just have to step back and think 'I've still got a few years there and I've still got time'."

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