Matic: The young players give me energy!

Friday 01 April 2022 07:00

Nemanja Matic says Manchester United’s young players are always willing to listen to and learn from their more experienced team-mates.

The 33-year-old is one of the senior members of the Reds dressing room and has an enviable CV in the game, with 48 caps for Serbia and league titles in England and Portugal to his name.

When asked if he and other top professionals like Juan Mata provide guidance to Academy graduates such as Anthony Elanga, Matic confirmed that he did, as over a decade in the game has allowed him to enjoy a different perspective on the sport.

And he added that those who are just coming through are keen to take any advice on board.

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“When you have more experience, you see football with different eyes. Of course that happens with experience. After so many games, that’s natural,” Matic told United Review.

“I try to help young players; to give them some good guidance when I see they need it. That doesn’t mean that I’m better than them! But I can sometimes see something they need to improve, and I can tell them.

“Players like Anthony, they always listen to more experienced players. They want to improve and I was the same.

“I always liked it when older players told me something; I always wanted to listen and to improve. In our team, we have a lot of young players who still need to improve and want to improve. That’s good.”

Blooding young players in the first team will always be high on the agenda at United and several of our Under-23s and Under-18s players have taken part in training at Carrington this season, especially during the international breaks when many familiar faces are away with their country.

Having the chance to work with the upcoming crop always gives Nemanja a buzz and he feels a sense of responsibility in helping them to improve.

“The guys that have been training with us are Manchester United players, they are the future of this club, so it’s always nice to see them training with us,” he continued.

“And it’s also good for them, to see where they are; to compare themselves with the senior team. So, for me, that’s always good.

“Being with the young players makes me feel that I am younger! The energy they have is fantastic and they transfer that to us.

“I need to try to help the young ones. To help them improve, to be better and better every day. When I was their age, the older players tried to help me, so I think that needs to be natural.

“I hate players who think that when they stop football, that the football will not exist anymore. So footballers always need to improve, and we need to try to help every young player to be better than us.”

Read the full interview with Nemanja in Saturday's matchday programme.