As good as Philippe Coutinho? Jamie Carragher raves about Manchester United's Juan Mata

Jamie Carragher during the press conference

Jamie Carragher has hailed Manchester United's Juan Mata.

Jamie Carragher during the press conferenceJamie Carragher

Pundit Jamie Carragher has told Sky Sports that he thinks Manchester United's Juan Mata deserves to be rated alongside Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

Manchester United played out a 1-1 draw with Arsenal over the weekend, with Mata opening the scoring before Olivier Giroud arrived with a late header to snatch a point for the travelling Gunners.

The Red Devils still haven't hit top gear under Jose Mourinho, but the surprise of the season for United has been the form and performances of midfielder Mata.

The Spaniard, 28, was frozen out and sold by Mourinho at Chelsea during the 2013/14 season, and many expected Mata to be on his way out of Old Trafford once Mourinho was appointed as Louis van Gaal's appointment.

Instead, Mata has worked hard to prove himself to Mourinho, and he's notched four goals and one assist in all competitions this season, serving a key role for the Red Devils on the right of midfield, keeping summer signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the fringes.

Mata has earned praise for his performance against Arsenal and his displays so far this season, and pundit Jamie Carragher has joined in with his own praise for the former Valencia star.

Manchester United's Juan Mata celebrates scoringManchester United's Juan Mata celebrates scoring

Carragher told Sky Sports that he feels that Mata is one of the most underrated players in the Premier League, and believes the reason why people undervalue him is because Mourinho sold him at Chelsea almost three years ago.

The former Liverpool defender suggested that Mata should be regarded in the same range as players like Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and even Reds star Philippe Coutinho, who has dazzled for Liverpool this season with six goals and five assists this season.

Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho in action with Watford's Daryl JanmaatLiverpool's Philippe Coutinho in action with Watford's Daryl Janmaat

“I think we're looking at one of the most underrated players in the Premier League," said Carragher. "I think the reason he doesn't get that credit the others get is that he played his first two years here with Chelsea, then [Jose] Mourinho comes in - the 'best manager in the world' - and gets rid of him so everyone thinks 'Mourinho can't be wrong, so there must be something wrong with Mata'. He goes to Manchester United, but he's not a Manchester United player, he hasn't got any pace and the fee is well over the odds for him. But what No 10 has got pace?”

“I think it's about time now that we start looking at Mata in these group of players - Kevin De Bruyne, Philippe Coutinho, David Silva, Eden Hazard - as one of the top players in the Premier League, which he is and has been. It's not a flash in the pan. He's been here five or six years, and he should start getting a lot more credit,” he added.

Do you think Mata is as good as Liverpool star Coutinho?

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch