In a video interview today, Manchester United spoke with Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera and had him answer a number of fan questions.
Luckily for us, one user – Freddie Vlogs – posed the question “Why is your shirt number 21? Is there a reason?”.
No. I used to wear number 8 when I was in Zaragoza, my first club. I was two seasons in in La Liga (the first division) and when I moved to Athletic Bilbao and I remember I had the [choice of] 21, 23, and maybe 17 was free. I took 21, I spent three fantastic seasons at Athletic Bilbao. Things went very good for me so I just kept it.
In his first season at Real Zaragoza, Herrera wore number 34 before switching to number 8 for the 2009/10 season. Funnily enough, that’s the same number that Barcelona midfielder Andrés Iniesta wore in his first season at the club, before switching to 24 for four seasons and then taking on the number 8.
In the same interview, another curious fan also asked why Herrera wears his full name on the back of his shirt rather than just his surname like most other players.
Same reason. But also because in Zaragoza, my hometown, my club that I grew up [with], I used to be known like “Ander”, just “Ander”, so I had on my shirt “ANDER”. And when I moved to Bilbao, everyone used to name me more like “Ander Herrera” because in Bilbao it’s a Basque name and there used to be more Anders. You know what I mean? More people who are called Ander. So to make the people differentiate between me and a team-mate that they used to have – Ander Iturraspe – I put “ANDER HERRERA”. Not just one specific reason, just because there are more people named in the team like me.
If you’d rather, you can watch his squad number response in the Twitter video below – it starts at around the 36 second mark. Alternatively, you can watch the full interview over on United’s YouTube channel. The response to the shirt name question is directly after the squad number question which starts at around 2 mins 57 secs.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 29, 2018