But this season is another matter, with the Serbia international looking out of sorts.
Matic is slow where United need to be quick. He fails to dominate against midfielders that should be overrun. And Mourinho has shown with Romelu Lukaku that even his favourites are no longer untouchable.
United looked better with Fred playing alongside Matic and Pogba pushed forward, but the Serb is still the weak line.
Whether it is simply a dip in form or a sign of things to come, Matic needs a rest, and Ander Herrera is tailor-made to step in.
The Spaniard has barely featured for United this season and the time has come to change that. Herrera has the tenacity and the fight needed to play the Matic role. He also has the passing range and the forward thinking to do a better job.
Herrera and Fred could do the dirty work, allowing Pogba to continue his renaissance. There is still room for £40million signing Matic in this United squad but, much like Lukaku, he should not be picked on past form alone.
Herrera has been patient, featuring for only 89 minutes in the league this season. Now should be his time to shine.
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