Why Nemanja Matic is United's marathon man
Nemanja Matic is one of the Premier League's marathon men, with the Manchester United midfielder looking to maintain his ever-present record in the division with tonight's trip to West Ham United.
The shrewd acquisition from Chelsea last summer has started all but one of the Reds' league matches in his debut season at Old Trafford, and he came on as a substitute at Bournemouth to keep his run going. Indeed, the Serbia international also played regularly for his former club and only three outfield players have appeared in more top-flight fixtures since 2014/15 - United colleague Romelu Lukaku, Christian Eriksen of Tottenham and, at least until tonight, Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy.
“I was lucky I didn't have big injuries and, when I've had some small injuries, I have always tried to recover as soon as possible to play and help the team,” Matic told MUTV.
“I just want to play as much as I can and give something to the team. It's very difficult to play every game and start every game. Like I said, I will try to do my best for the team, help the side, and it doesn't matter if I start or not as I'll be there for this club.”
MOST PREMIER LEAGUE APPEARANCES SINCE 2014/15
147 - Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City)
145 - Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur)
144 - Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)
142 - David De Gea (Manchester United)
141 - Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur)
141 - Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
140 - Nemanja Matic (Manchester United)
Matic reflected on his first campaign at the club during the interview at Old Trafford this week and was asked to pick his highlight, aside from his Goal of the Season against Crystal Palace.
“Maybe my first game in a Manchester United shirt at this stadium, against West Ham, because this is a game I will never forget as it was my debut,” he replied.
“I hope it's going to be the same result [at the London Stadium]!
”It has gone very fast but, today, football is like this - matches every three days and it's very quick. But it's very nice to play in this stadium and I'm just very happy.
“Of course, there were some very good games but there were some games when I didn't play well, in my opinion. But I give my best. I think I have had a good season. Obviously, it is not perfect if we don't win the title but I try to do my best for the team and I hope the supporters are happy with my job because I am doing my best every day.
”Not only in the games but also in training. I will try to do the same job next season because this is me. Yeah, I'm happy with how I played but, for sure, you can always do better.