Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo

Mata impressed by Garnacho and Mainoo

Saturday 04 May 2024 14:00

Former Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata says he has been impressed with the performances of Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo this season.

The 36-year-old has kept a close eye on his old team’s matches since departing Old Trafford in 2022, and was recently speaking about the Reds in San Diego, where Erik ten Hag’s side will take on Real Betis in a friendly this summer.

In an exclusive interview with MUTV’s Sam Homewood, Juan expressed his delight for our two aforementioned Academy graduates, who have been standout performers in the senior ranks across the 2023/24 campaign.

Juan Mata: Once a Red, always a Red Video

Juan Mata: Once a Red, always a Red

In San Diego to promote our tour game there, Juan Mata shares his future plans, views on United and love for our fans…

Garnacho made his first-team debut in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea just over two years ago, coming off the bench in what was Mata’s penultimate home appearance of his eight-and-a-half years as a Red.

The latter will have therefore been aware of Alejandro’s budding talent prior to departing the club and has since been proud of the way that the young Red has kicked on.
“[I’m] very [impressed]. I mean, I knew Alejandro, I know what he's capable of,” the former Reds favourite said, speaking at the Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego.

“He was already showing signs of how good he could be. I think this season he made a step forward. He's more consistent. He's performing at a very high level, almost week in, week out, scoring incredible goals. 

“I'm very happy for him, for his family too. He deserves it.”
Garnacho became a frequent participant in first-team training towards the end of Mata's time at United.

Mainoo, like Garnacho, was part of the historic side that lifted the 2022 FA Youth Cup in Mata’s final season at the club.

The former had to wait until the following campaign to make his senior bow and is a player that Juan did not know as well while he was here, but our ex-midfielder is now enjoying watching Kobbie and has been reliably informed about what he's like off the pitch too.

“I'm really impressed with Kobbie. Of course I haven't seen much of him before, but he looks like he's been playing for the club for longer than [he has],” the Spaniard added.

“[In his] first games for United he already looks so mature. He looks like a player. With the ball, without the ball [he’s] focused. [He’s got a] bright future ahead. 

“Bruno [Fernandes] tells me he's also a great kid. He listens. He wants to learn. He's humble. So, he has everything to succeed.”

Mata was in San Diego promoting United's Tour 2024 clash with Real Betis, at the city's Snapdragon Stadium, on 31 July. Tickets for that game are available here.