Juan Mata believes it’s vital Man United find balance between youth and experience

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Juan Mata believes it is vital for Manchester United’s prospects in the coming season that they find the right mix between exciting prospects and seasoned campaigners.

With three victories on the trot, it has been a promising pre-season thus far for United as they look to make amends for last year’s 6th-place finish in the Premier League.

There has been plenty of talk about manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s desire for a youthful and vibrant outfit in the coming campaign.

‘It’s an incredible privilege to wear this armband!’ Juan Mata delighted to captain Manchester United

United have already signed talented prospects Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James to complement the existing crop of youngsters such as Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Andreas Pereira and Scott McTominay.

Nonetheless, there remains a handful of old heads in the dressing room and Mata, who is the oldest player in the squad barring reserve goalkeepers Sergio Romero and Lee Grant, believes there has to be the right mix.

“I think it’s very important to have a balance between young players and more experienced players,” said the Spaniard.

“I was once a young player and I felt how important it was to have all the [older] players by my side telling me about different things about football.


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“To bring me up in difficult moments [and] calm me down in very good moments, so I think every team needs a balance.

“We have a good balance and I think the manager acknowledges that, so we’re very happy with these young players that come through the academy and are doing great this season.

“Hopefully they can keep gaining confidence and keep performing that well.”

Mata was speaking on an adidas event at Singapore’s The Float @ Marina Bay on Sunday, which was graced by himself, Paul Pogba and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in front of over 1,000 United supporters.

Mata and Pogba greet their passionate fans in Singapore.

The event came a day after the Red Devils notched their third consecutive pre-season win as they beat Inter Milan in the International Champions Cup, although the Spaniard insists all this will be for nothing if they do not make it count when the new Premier League campaign gets underway on August 8.

“I think preparations are going very well,” added the 31-year-old. “We have been working hard since we started in Manchester, we had two games in Australia, we had a good game against Inter here in Singapore.

“We are very happy so far with the trainings, performances and results, but they don’t count for the season.

“We need to be ready for the first game of the season, which is Chelsea.

“We obviously know [the manager from midway through] last season. Now he has time to have a pre-season, which I think is very important for him and the way he wants us to play.

“So, hopefully we can keep improving and arrive to the first game of the season ready to win.”

United have since left Singapore for Shanghai and will take on Tottenham in another International Champions Cup tie on Thursday.