Ander Herrera arrived for Manchester United training on Friday as the midfielder hopes to win back Jose Mourinho’s trust and regain his position in the absence of Paul Pogba.
Pogba limped out of United’s victory against Basle at Old Trafford on Tuesday night and is expected to be sidelined for between four and six weeks.
And the Spaniard is one of a number of players who could benefit from the French star’s hamstring injury.
After being voted United’s player of the year last season and touted as a front runner to replace Wayne Rooney as captain during the summer, the 28-year-old seemed set to become a pivotal figure around Old Trafford.
But things have not quite panned out the way Herrera would have liked. He had to wait a month into the new season before making his first Premier League start at Stoke and has been forced to accept a place on the bench.
So what went so wrong? Sportsmail revealed this week that he has fallen out of favour due to losing the trust of the United boss following an incident at United’s Carrington training ground towards the end of last season.
The impact made by the £40million summer signing Nemanja Matic has undoubtedly not made Herrera’s hopes of regaining a first-team spot any easier, not to mention Pogba’s auspicious start to the season.
The France international has played freely and dominated games for United in the midfield and also added a goalscorer’s touch to his artillery.
And his chances of regaining a first-team spot since have been made harder by Nemanja Matic
He has already registered two Premier League goals in their four games and he will certainly leave a huge void in Mourinho’s side.
But his injury presents Herrera with an opportunity to prove his worth and to make amends with the United boss and he will eager to grasp it with both hands.
Another player who will be keen to get his chance is Chris Smalling.
He is yet to feature for United in the Premier League this season but played the full 90 minutes alongside summer arrival Victor Lindelof against Basle as Eric Bailly and Phil Jones were suspended.
It seems Smalling won’t get his chance this weekend, though. Mourinho confirmed after the Basle game he and Lindelof will be given their chances to impress in the Carabao Cup next.
He said: ‘They [Smalling and Lindelof] train really hard.
‘They train together always in the same team because I knew they had to play this match together.
‘If you want to anticipate the next weekend I probably play Bailly and Jones because today they didn’t play, because they are fresh, because it makes sense for them to play again, but then two days after we have a League Cup match, so Victor and Smalling again.’
United first face the return of Rooney to Old Trafford when they take on an out-of-sorts Everton side in the Premier League on Sunday.