By Jack Malone

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera has earned his first call-up to the Spain squad for their matches against Italy and Albania this week.

The 27-year-old has featured 15 times for his nation’s under-21 side, but finally made the leap to the seniors after a recent spell of good form.

Drafted in as a replacement for Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez, Herrera joins United team-mate David De Gea in the squad, along with fellow Premier League stars David Silva, Nolito and Diego Costa.

The former Athletic Bilbao man started in both the 4-1 win over Leicester City and last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Stoke City after spending most of September as a substitute.

However, Reds’ manager Jose Mourinho praised Herrera’s recent performances ahead of the match with the Potters.

“[Herrera] can be an important player for us, because we play with four attacking players plus Paul who likes a lot to go to different positions, to try and create,” the United boss is quoted as saying on the club’s official website.

“But we need a player like Ander because he is very fast on the defensive transition, he can give us the security we need, especially against fast counter attacks.”

Spain are currently in a rebuilding process following the departure of legendary coach Vicente del Bosque in the summer, so Herrera will be looking to impress the new manager Julen Lopetegui and earn a permanent place in the talented Spain squad.

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