Juan Mata seeking Spain return under Luis Enrique

Juan Mata is optimistic of reviving his Spain career following the appointment of Luis Enrique as head coach earlier this month.The 30-year-old was part of the victorious Spain teams at the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 European Championship but earned the most recent of his 41 caps for the nation in a friendly in November 2016.

Mata was excluded from Spain’s squad for this year’s World Cup but is hopeful of turning his fortunes around under former Barcelona boss Enrique.

“I was disappointed not to go (to the World Cup),” the Manchester United midfielder said. “But then after that, I was hoping for them to win…Now, things have changed. We have a new manager again, Luis Enrique… I’m again excited about the possibility of coming back. I obviously want to come back and try to play as many games as I can with the national team.”

Mata believes the emergence of a new generation along with the presence of experienced players will propel Spain to new heights in the future.

“I’m really excited about it and I think the future, it can be still bright for Spain, because we have young players coming that, as I said, they have the level to compete,” he added.

“We have some senior players that we have been there for some years and we have the experience so I think it’s a good mix and hopefully it can be a good future for Spanish football.”

Mata is one of few senior United players currently participating in the club’s pre-season tour of the United States, where manager Jose Mourinho’s team will face AC Milan in the International Champions Cup on Thursday.

United youngsters are getting the ‘pre-season of their lives’ with so many of the club’s World Cup stars on holiday, according to Juan Mata.

Jose Mourinho has repeatedly bemoaned the fact his initial 24-man touring party was without United’s World Cup contingent, with a dozen players all returning to pre-season training at different times. Nemanja Matic, who was eliminated in the group stages in Russia, has since joined up with his team-mates in the US while Fred and David de Gea are due to fly out later this week.

But with a number of United players reaching the latter stages of the tournament, including World Cup winner Paul Pogba, Mourinho is having to plan without them for the visit of Leicester City on August 10.

That has seen academy talents like Demetri Mitchell, Tahith Chong and James Garner all start games on tour – which probably would not have happened in a non-World Cup year.

Regardless, Mata is not getting too downbeat.

“We all know that this is not the squad that is going to be the first-team squad when we start the Premier League in the first game of the season,” said. “But it is what it is. And I like to see it in a positive way, which is so many youngsters are with us.

“It speaks very well about how the Manchester United academy is working and it’s an incredible experience for them. So for us, the senior players, it’s about getting some minutes and getting the rhythm of the game.Juan Mata revealed Jose Mourinho’s plans recently and according to him coach Jose Mourinho could be set to use more academy prospects at Manchester United this season.

Mata scored United’s equaliser in their 1-1 pre-season friendly draw with Club America in the States overnight. It was the first match the Red Devils have played this summer with Mourinho forced to take a number of academy youngsters to America.And Mata believes United’s future looks promising with the talent they have in the ranks.


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