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Ander Herrera: "Mourinho’s an attacking coach; what he’s not is a kamikaze"

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The United midfielder spoke to The Guardian about making his Spain debut, his team-mates and manager

Manchester United v FC Midtjylland - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: Second Leg Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera spoke to the Guardian’s Side Lowe this week ahead of making his debut for Spain against England on Tuesday.

In addition to giving his thoughts on representing La Roja for the first time, the former Athletic Club player spoke about his United team-mates and manager.

On making his long-awaited Spain debut: "I’m here because Mourinho’s given me the chance to take a new role, It’s more defensive: hold my position, don’t lose the ball, win it, bring it out fluidly, that ‘rest defence’. I’m enjoying it. I’m there for others."

On José Mourinho: "Mourinho’s an attacking coach; what he’s not is a kamikaze: he doesn’t have us playing like mad men. He likes the ‘rest defence’ but he’s an attacking coach who gives players freedom. He’s also honest, sincere, says what he thinks to your face. If a coach isn’t honest, players rumble him. There’s a very good relationship. Mourinho’s very straight.”

On Wayne Rooney: "Wayne’s been playing at the highest level from 16. I didn’t reach the first division until I was 20; he’s got four years on me. All that adds up. Sunday, Wednesday, Sunday, Wednesday, national team, Euros, World Cup, competing, winning, again and again. Fifteen years at England’s biggest club has an impact; people need to understand that. And he never disconnects, even when he’s not playing. He’s there, talking about how we can improve."

On Zlatan Ibrahimovic: "He’s ... curioso ... He’s a superstar, but he’s joking all day, winding people up, and he accepts you doing it back. He’s 35 and look at him. Like a lad of 28. He looks after himself, eats well, stretches, does his recovery work. There are no miracles – if you’re like that at 35, that agile, that good, it’s because you’re professional. You give Ibra a melon and he turns it into a ball.”

On Marcus Rashford: "We wind him up: ‘How much money are you going to make?!’ Because he has everything: he’s quick, shoots well with both feet and I most like his willingness to defend. But, look, he’s 19: we can’t ask him to score 40 goals. Be patient. There will bad times but there will be good too because he’s so talented. A humble kid with a brilliant future."

To read there full interview on the Guardian’s website, click here.