Ander Herrera has revealed how a pre-season conversation with Jose Mourinho transformed his midfield role at Manchester United, thrusting him to the forefront of the Portuguese’s plans at Old Trafford.
The Spaniard only played a bit-part role under Louis van Gaal, Mourinho’s predecessor, making just 17 league starts for the side.
But Herrera has since gone on to establish himself as a key component in Mourinho’s starting XI, with his aggressive style of play and fiery temperament earning him the admiration of the United faithful.
And speaking to Sky Sports, the 27-year-old said he was told by Mourinho that he would be more “important” to the team if he brought greater positional variety to his game.
"I know it is difficult to play in a big club like Manchester United as a No 10 because you know how many goals you have to score to play there," Herrera said.
"So I thought I had to add something to my game. I had to give more options to the manager. We both agreed.
"He told me that I was going to play sometimes a different role in the team. He told me sometimes I was going to play more defensive and in other games he was going to need me more forward. I told him I'd play wherever he wanted me to play and I would give my best."
Herrera’s future at United has been subject to speculation in recent weeks, with numerous reports linking him to Barcelona.
But speaking early last week, the midfield insisted that he is “happy” at the Manchester club and simply wants to ‘give back’ to the fans.
As reported by The Independent, United have no desire to sell Herrera who has openly pledged his commitment to the side.
"I'm very thankful with Man United because they came to Spain to sign me three years ago,” he said.
“So the only thing I have in my mind every time I am on the pitch is I want to give all of the affection back and I think that's the right way.
“I just try to go to the pitch and finish the game and I cannot complain to myself, I can say I have given everything.
"I don't want to stop, I am very optimistic and a hard-working player and I want to keep playing, to keep working hard, to keep improving, not just personally but with the club, but with the team.
"I want to keep winning things, I am happy with my development, I am happy with my time at the club so far but I am not going to stop here, I want to keep playing, keep improving and making our fans proud."