Ander Herrera knew Man United striker was ‘special’, reveals Juan Mata

Juan Mata reveals how Marcus Rashford impressed both him and Ander Herrera in Man United training for the first time

Juan Mata
Juan Mata (Photo: The Sport Review)

Juan Mata has lifted the lid on the first time that Marcus Rashford impressed both him and Ander Herrera in Manchester United training.

Rashford broke into the first team at Old Trafford for the first time under former manager Louis van Gaal, and he announced himself to the Premier League in 2016 when he scored two goals on his debut against Arsenal in a 3-2 victory.

The England forward has since gone on to establish himself as a regular fixture in the Manchester United team in the subsequent years, and he is widely considered to be one of the country’s best young strikers.

The 22-year-old had scored 14 goals and made four assists in the Premier League for Manchester United this season before he suffered a back injury earlier this year.

Now, Mata has opened up about how Rashford first made a striking impression on his Manchester United team-mates in training under Van Gaal a few years ago.

Asked to name the best young player who has come through the ranks at Manchester United, Mata said: “Obviously the first one who comes to my mind is Marcus, Marcus Rashford.

“Everyone knows that he is a special player and I have to admit that in the first training that he did with us in the first team, it was Louis van Gaal that was our manager, and after the training, we did a little game and he was playing on the right side, and, after everything finished, Ander Herrera came to me and said: ‘Do you see this player? How good he is? He will be a player for us.’

“He realised straightaway. After one training session, Ander knew that this guy was something special.

“Of course after that, he was very determined since the first moment he played with us, scoring very quickly, many goals and, of course, for his country also, so I think he is probably the most special player that has come through in my time here, through the academy.”

Manchester United are currently fifth in the Premier League table and three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea FC in the race for a top-four finish.

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