Former Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jamie Redknapp has suggested that Manchester United are in danger of overlooking Juan Mata because of the Spaniard’s personality.
Mata came off the bench against Crystal Palace to score the winner and give United three points and Redknapp has warned the Old Trafford side not to make the mistake of assuming he’s happy because of his quiet persona.
“It is easy to pick on Juan Mata. He is not blessed with pace, he’s not a big player and he comes across as a quiet, humble guy,” wrote Redknapp for the Daily Mail.
“You have to credit him because he never causes a fuss or has a bad word to say. But make no mistake. He wants to play football.”
Mata’s position in this Manchester United side has been questioned over the last few weeks due to the variety and quality of attacking options that Louis van Gaal has at his disposal.
The questions first started when van Gaal was playing a three man central midfield system, which didn’t work at the start of the season, but that’s since changed to a more conventional four man midfield.
When United need to play with stronger and more aggressive players in the middle of the team, Mata is often the player sacrificed, as would be the case with any smaller, more creative midfielder.
However, Redknapp and anyone else shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking Mata will be overlooked in an ideal eleven where LvG wants a creative player who can control possession through the middle of the attack.
If United are going to make it into the top four by the end of the season then Mata is going to have a big say over the rest of the campaign.