Juan Mata arrives at Fulham's Craven Cottage last season.

Mata will keep setting the right example at United

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was understandably quick to highlight the influence of Juan Mata after the Spaniard signed a new contract.

The 31-year-old is one of the senior professionals at the club and much respected by the staff and his colleagues.

Ole appreciates the example he sets to the youngsters looking to catch the boss's eye and feels there is much they can learn from his professional approach to the game, and the way he conducts himself.

Mata: How I can mentor the youth at UnitedVideo

Tellingly, Ole also added: “He understands what it means to be a Manchester United player and has embraced everything about this great club.”

Juan is certainly an adopted Mancunian and loves being a Red. Since his move north from Chelsea in 2014, he has settled here and provides the same class and composure off the pitch as he does on it. 

For some reason, when you think of anybody wearing the official club suit with pride, he is one of the players who instantly comes to mind.

A couple of years ago, Inside United spoke to Juan about what advice he would have given to the teenage Mata set to make his senior debut and, after careful consideration, he shared the words that could resonate with the youngsters in the current Reds squad.

“Just try to enjoy it,” he said. “Be professional – as I have been – take care of your body, because your body is your tool to perform at the good level for many years. Enjoy every single day, and don’t take anything for granted.

”Wake up every day feeling lucky and privileged and go to training with the best motivation because anything can change in one second so don’t take anything for granted, even in football.

Juan Mata wearing the 2019/20 adidas home shirt.
Juan Mata will continue to wear the United shirt with pride next season.

In terms of his contribution in the red shirt, there is much still to achieve for Mata. His goal against former side Chelsea, the final one for United at Old Trafford last season, was his 33rd in the league for the club.

It put him level with Roy Keane in the overall Premier League scoring charts for United in 13th place, one behind current team-mate Anthony Martial, and two adrift of striker Mark Hughes.

Of course, his game is about much more than hitting the net as his shrewd, intelligent work is always capable of unlocking defences.

An experienced figure with so much top-flight pedigree, he should continue to exert his influence and combine well with those around him.

We all know Juan Mata is a model professional and somebody who will be doing all he can to get United back up the table next season. 

The opinions in this story are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Manchester United Football Club.

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