You’ve been consistent for a number of years for United but people seem to appreciate and acknowledge your influence far more these days. Any ideas why?
I really don’t know and it makes me laugh sometimes with the things I read and comments I hear. Perhaps a few more figures in football have said nice things about my game and then people jump on that. But I’ve been happy with my form for a while now.
Do you think perhaps Barcelona’s success in controlling possession has highlighted how influential your style can be?
That's possible. The game evolves all the time and different trends and styles of play come to the fore or become more popular and are used by different teams. We’re perhaps in a time now where people appreciate that type of midfielder a lot more.
Do you like the attention?
It shows you’re doing your job right and in that sense you have to enjoy it and take satisfaction from it. It’s good if you’re playing well in a successful team, that’s what any player wants. But attention isn’t something I crave or need.
You're one of the more experienced members of the squad now. In fact, you were the oldest player in the team against Sunderland…
[Laughs] Yeah, I was really surprised to hear that because in a way you get used to looking up to more experienced, older lads in the squad. There are senior lads here, older than me, and you don’t always see yourself in that bracket. But it’s natural, time catches up and you become one of the older ones. It caught me by surprise!
Do you feel like you have the influence of a senior player within the squad?
There is a responsibility to set an example here. I’m not one to dictate or shout and scream. It’s more about setting an example within the squad. At this club people like Giggsy and Scholesy don't go around shouting, they lead by example - not just on the pitch but in everything they do. At Manchester United, especially, you carry an expectation to live the right way, to train well and look after yourself. As a package, there is no club like it in terms of responsibility for its players. It’s important the senior lads do the right things for the younger ones to follow.
Has that been a crucial characteristic so far this season?
I think so. You’re bound to go through times in a season where things might not go well. That happens to every team.