Sir Alex described Anderson as having “a face like a bag of tripe when I don't play him" in a typically dry-witted assessment of his midfielder’s reaction to being left out of the team. It’s rare to see the boy from Porto Alegre (literally ‘Joyous Port’) not grinning. So he hopes there’s plenty to smile about for the remainder of the season...
How do you think this season has gone for you?
I feel it’s gone quite well. I’ve played in a few games and I think I’ve done well. I’m very happy to be at United. I hope that I can be here for a long time and do even better for the team in the future.
Sir Alex says you always look so unhappy when he doesn’t pick you. Does that sum up your determination to play for United?
Yes, I think so. No footballer is happy when they are out of the team. If you’re not bothered being on the bench or in the stands you will never be successful, certainly not at a club like United. You have to be unhappy if you’re not in the team. But even when I am not included I always support my team-mates. I’d love to start every match, but when this doesn’t happen I support my colleagues because we’re a team and we stick together.
How tough is it competing with so many other top midfielders at United?
I see it as a great challenge. It’s good to have competition around you because that’s the way to get the best out of players. If everyone is competing for places, the performance levels will always be higher.
You’ve played in a number of different roles – an advanced midfielder, more defensively, or wide left – do you have a preferred role?
I prefer to play further up the pitch in a more attacking role because I think that suits my game. And the system that Manchester United play gives me the freedom to do what I do best. So I prefer a more attacking role.