Rooney throwing insults and Di Maria giving stick – Herrera lifts the lid on Manchester United dressing room

The former Athletic Bilbao midfielder revealed there is no hierarchy among the players at Old Trafford though he admits Michael Carrick is respected by the whole of the squad

Ander Herrera has given an insight into the Manchester United dressing room, explaining the roles Wayne Rooney and Angel Di Maria fulfill when it comes to team morale.

The former Athletic Bilbao midfielder joined the Red Devils in the summer and, after a slow start to life under Louis van Gaal, has played a key role in the side’s push for a Champions League place in recent weeks.

While he admits Ashley Young is the main joker among the United squad, he says Rooney and Di Maria enjoy insulting their team-mates when in the confines of the changing room.

“Maybe Ashley Young,” he told El Pais when asked about the squad’s joker. “But I think the Spanish speakers have more of a sense of humour. Maybe it’s because we’re always together and sometimes the English are more private.

“But yeah, Di Maria doesn’t stop giving you stick, [Radamel] Falcao and [Antonio] Valencia are very open… I don’t know, I think really what we do is mess with guys of the same nationality and what’s going on in their country.

“Rooney is outgoing and is very open and insults us in Spanish. But I prefer to talk to him about football because I know that he really likes boxing and I don’t want him to try with me!

Despite Rooney being installed as captain this season, United have been criticised for a lack of leaders in their squad following the departures of Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic last summer.

And Herrera feels there is no real hierarchy within the dressing room as with previous United sides, though he admits Michael Carrick enjoys particular respect from his peers.

“I think that there’s a lot of respect for those like Rooney and Carrick who have been here for many years because you see that it’s very difficult to do that. But I think that, like [David] De Gea told me, before it was more hierarchical with people liike Ferdinand, [Paul] Scholes, Giggs…

“Carrick is very serious, but reminds me of another of [Marcelo] Bielsa’s phrases: “Leaders don’t have to talk a lot, but when they do talk, you listen.”

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