Fans' Q&A: Nemanja Matic
Nemanja Matic took part in one of our special fans' Q&A sessions recently and provided some enlightening responses on a variety of topics.
The Serbian midfielder spoke about the deep-lying midfield position, his father and son, his coaching badges, toughest opponent and much, much more.
He even found time to joke about some of his colleagues, particularly Paul Pogba, whom he seems to enjoy winding up at Carrington.
Fans' Q&A: Nemanja Matic tackles your questions
In case you missed it, Nemanja Matic has spent time answering your questions and it's a great watch...
Chen Weikang (China): You are no.31 in the squad – is this a special number for you?
“It is a special number because my son chose this number. I remember when I was in the park playing with him and we got all three numbers and I had to choose one to have for my shirt. I asked him which one would you like and he chose 31 so that is why it is special.”
Li Yan (China): You have scored some great goals; in your wildest dreams, what would be the best way to score – long range, bicycle kick, solo run?
“To be honest, I don’t score so many goals in my career but I’ve scored maybe 10 beautiful goals. I scored one bicycle kick for the Serbia national team against Portugal. I scored one in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley for Chelsea from long range. I think that Crystal Palace, in the last minute, those kind of goals are what you always dream about.”
Ravichandran M (Singapore): Describe your wonder goal at Palace in one word.
“Well, Ravi just AMAZING.”
Jonathan B (Ethiopia): What is the goal that you will never forget?
“Jonathan, the goal I will never forget? There are quite a few. Palace in the last minute, the semi final of the FA Cup against Tottenham and in Benfica versus Porto, the biggest Portuguese derby, those three goals.”
Velimir T (Bulgaria): What do you think is the most important characteristic of a defensive midfield player?
“Well, Velimir, I think it is the concentration. You always have to position yourself in the right space, in the perfect moment and the situation needs to be dealt with. Of course, you also need the quality to read the game well.”
Ewan L (UK): Who is the hardest/toughest player you have ever faced?
“Well, Ewan, the toughest player I played against was probably Yaya Toure, when he played at Manchester City. In his prime, he was a very good player – probably one of the best players in the Premier League and one of the best midfielders in the world at that time. So I really enjoyed playing against him. He always gave me a hard time and you always had to be at your best against him so probably him.”
“Well, Apeh my nickname is The Wolf. They call me The Wolf but I don’t know why. You have to ask to them. They call me The Wolf, I don’t know, they said I always find a way to win in the training sessions. They say, basically, that I am cheating. I don’t know. Wolves never cheat!”
Aaryaman I (Canada): What is the most relaxing place you have ever visited?
“Aaryaman, the most relaxing place always, for me, is when I go back home to Serbia. I don’t know why – probably because I was born there and I am from there. So it is always where I feel the best.”
Deng Wenhao (China): Which position did you play as a kid?
“I played behind the striker so I was a no.10. I was small, smaller than now. Much smaller! I had great technique and I used to score many goals and get lots of assists.”
“Well, Olanshile, yeah, I think our dressing room is easy to adapt to. We always welcome everyone since the first minute at the club. It is easy. In our dressing room, we have so many players that are from abroad and also lots of English players so, if you come from any part of the world, there is always someone to help you with the language. Everyone is happy when they see new players and everyone is happy to help.”
Aviv N (Malaysia): Did you speak with Nemanja Vidic before or after joining United?
“Yeah, of course, Aviv. I spoke to him and he always gave me good advice about the club. He is a big legend as you know. I spoke to him months ago and he is always positive. He always supports us and is a gentleman. I am happy I am good friends with him.”
[Did he give you any tips about where to go out or was it just the football?]
“To be honest, I think he never went out when he played here. He focused on his football, similar to me. Like me, he has three kids and, outside of football, you still have a big job with taking the kids to school, training etc so there is not much time to go out.”
Lukas S (Croatia): Who was your favourite player and who got you into football?
“Lukas, my favourite player when I was a kid was Zinedine Zidane. When I was a kid, I used to play in a similar position to him so he was my idol. I think, in my opinion, he is one of the best players in football history. My father was a football player and, yeah, I used to watch him when he played. For me, I wanted to be like my father, obviously. He still thinks he was better than me but that’s a different story!”
[Which level did he play at?]
“The best club he played for was in the Second Division in the ex-Yugoslavia. He said he didn’t have the opportunities like me, that’s the difference!”
Hanan R (UK): We’ve seen you make some mazy run forwards - who is the best dribbler in the squad?
“Well, Hanan, the best dribbler with the ball is definitely not me. I don’t have to do that because my position doesn’t allow me to dribble a lot. I would say probably our strikers – Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford. Yeah maybe these two players.”
“Yeah, I watch him sometimes. I don’t like to put too much pressure on him but I watch him. I like to watch if I see he is enjoying playing. So yeah, if he enjoys it, I’m happy. If I see that he doesn’t enjoy it, I will take him to a different sport and [he can do] something else.”
Stan S (UK): Is there much of a Serbian community in the UK?
“Yeah, Stan, I think around London, I got information there are 90,000 Serbian people. Ninety. So a lot. In Manchester, there is not so much but also we have a Serbian community around Leicester, we also have our church there. So there are a lot of Serbian people living in the UK and I have a lot of friends who are Serbian people. I am happy I can see them often.”
“Siviwe, that’s the way I play. I think that’s my quality. I can stay calm to help the team sometimes when I see we are in a little bit of panic or sometimes the team needs stability. I think that’s part of my style of playing.”
Nick C (USA): What is your normal pre-match routine?
“Nick, well, to be honest, I don’t have any special routine. I just come to the dressing room. I’m just doing normal things, waiting for the warm-up. I don’t have anything special. I see some players have superstitions and they have some different things. But I never have this, just normal, sit and waiting in the dressing room."
Chaz R (USA): Which famous celebrity would you most like to meet and why?
“Chaz, I didn’t think about that but I don’t know. To be honest, maybe Jackie Chan, if possible. I like to watch his movies.”
“Myself. By far. I think sometimes he posts his style on social media and I think people saw why. I don’t want to get involved with it again. If he wants, he can post, okay, but I don’t like his style!”
Rome O (Nigeria): Who is the funniest character in the dressing room?
“Rome, the funniest character in the dressing room is Paul. Paul always gets angry and it is funny to watch him. Erm, someone else… no, I will say Paul.”
[You like to wind Paul up don’t you?]
“Joyce, well, every time I step on to the pitch, I always remember where I started from. When I see Old Trafford it gives me a bit more motivation to play because I think the people come from, let’s say, poor villages like me, that gives us more power to show our best. So, when every time I step on to the pitch, I remember my village.”
Tristan C (UK): I heard you want to be a coach in the future – what sort of manager do you imagine being one day?
“Yeah, that’s kind of the plan. I started my coaching badges but I don’t think yet about this. I focus on my job now in football. I think I have still got four or five more seasons to play. After that, we will see but, at the moment, I am only focusing on playing football.”