Mata: De Gea is undervalued outside of England
Juan Mata believes his Manchester United colleague David De Gea is undervalued outside of England.
De Gea has been in superb form again this season, with his performance in the recent win at Arsenal one of his very best, and yet he was strangely overlooked for FIFA's best goalkeeper award with Gianluigi Buffon finishing top of a 15-man list that did not even feature the Reds star.
The 27-year-old did come 20th in the Ballon d'Or voting, after making the shortlist for the first time, and has been selected for the last three PFA Premier League Teams of the Year, as nominated by his fellow professionals. Despite being generally regarded as the best in the division, the Spain no.1 should be better appreciated on the continent, according to fellow countryman Mata.
"You know, everything has been said about David from journalists, ex-players, current players, from myself," Mata said in United Review, the official matchday programme. "He is great. He is fantastic. He has an incredible talent and has shown that in every single game in every single season, which is so difficult to do. His consistency is what makes him the best or one of the best, for sure. He showed it on a big stage like Arsenal as he made sure we got the points.
"You know what? I don’t know why some people don’t appreciate him and how good he is. He’s not always on the list of the best goalkeepers in the world, or whatever these awards are, and, for me, it’s definite. I see his games week in and week out and can see he is great and fantastic. He has to be in the top three, top two or top one. For me, he’s the best and it would be nice if more journalists, not just in England as he is very well appreciated in England, but in different countries, realised how good he is."
Meanwhile, speaking before the Champions League round of 16 draw pitted United with Sevilla, Mata explained why it would be premature to talk of any power shift away from La Liga to the Premier League, despite the form of the English sides in the competition.
"I think it is early," he stated. "The English clubs have had a great group stage and all qualified, most of them first, and enjoyed great opening games. But it’s very early to say who is going to be the winner. It’s a fact, though, that English clubs are doing much better this season and I’m happy for it."
Read the full interview with Juan Mata in the latest edition of United Review, available at Old Trafford or online.