Mata's words of wisdom for United youngsters
Juan Mata has offered some words of wisdom to the current crop of talented Manchester United youngsters.
Tahith Chong, James Garner and Mason Greenwood have all made their debuts under boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, while Angel Gomes has also featured under the Norwegian.
The Spanish midfielder believes our Academy players will continue to get chances with the senior squad if they maintain their current progress.
“Obviously, it’s up to Ole to decide that but what I can tell you is that there are some good players in there,” Juan told us.
“I like them very much. I like their work-rate and their attitude. They’re humble and they want to learn - that’s very important at that age.
“I think they have the quality to be football players. After that, it’s not only to arrive, it’s to maintain yourself in that high-level performance that you need to play for such a club.
“I wish them the best because they’re good kids, they train hard and they deserve the best.”
Juan, who has made 217 appearances for the Reds since signing from Chelsea in January 2014, celebrated his 31st birthday by scoring against his old club last weekend - and the experienced Spaniard is happy to offer advice to the next generation.
“I just will tell them they need to believe in themselves," Mata said.
“They have to keep believing in themselves and always be humble enough to improve, to want more, to have good ambition, to improve as a player and just enjoy the game.
“Sometimes it’s more difficult when you’re playing very important games and there’s a lot of responsibility around, but every football player should always remind himself or herself to think about when we were kids and we played for fun.”
Juan, who came through Real Madrid’s famed La Fábrica academy before moving to Valencia and then England, thinks humility and respect are the most important qualities for any young player to have.
“Not only when you’re 18 or 19 and you’re coming to training with the first team but obviously at that time it’s very important to remain with your head calm, with your feet on the ground knowing that if you’re training with the first team it’s because you’re doing some things very well.
“But you shouldn’t change. You should keep doing what brought you there.
“They need to remain humble and ambitious and respectful to their team-mates and yes, to then take advantage of the opportunities because at that age it is important to believe in yourself and not panic or try to get nervous when you play. You just have to do what you have been doing during your youth career.”
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