Erik ten Hag can offer Juan Mata the perfect role at Manchester United

erik ten hag can offer juan mata the perfect role at manchester united
© Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images Juan Mata is set to hold talks with United

Following the appointment of Erik ten Hag, fans have been getting excited about the possibility of an overhaul at Manchester United. A number of players look set to leave the club this summer, either by transfer or following the expiration of their contract.

One player who was expected to be on his way out of Old Trafford was Juan Mata. However, a recent interview has cast doubt over whether that will be the case.

Speaking to The Athletic, the Spanish midfielder revealed that he had a ‘conversation pending’ with Ten Hag. He said: “I will see when we speak how we feel, what his ideas are, after that a decision will be made.”

Mata was one of United’s key players in their 3-0 win against Brentford a few weeks ago, which was arguably the team’s best performance of the season. Many fans commented during the match that they wished Mata was younger and also that the club should have played him in the number 10 role more often during his time at Old Trafford.

However, United fans also agreed that, although Mata had the technical quality to play under Ten Hag, he did not have the stamina. So the revelation that the Dutchman may be open to the idea of Mata staying has left fans confused as to what role he could play.

Personally, if Mata could adopt a player-coach role at United I think this would be the perfect scenario. Over the past few months, it has been claimed that Ten Hag wants a coach who knows the dressing room and can help him communicate his ideas to the players.

Robin van Persie and Jaap Stam were both tipped for an Old Trafford return, however, it has been years since either was a part of the dressing room and so, other than on reputation, how would they be able to command the respect of the dressing room better than anyone else brought in to fill the role?

Mata is an incredibly well-respected member of the squad and he has the technical ability that Ten Hag looks for in his players. So, much like Michael Carrick worked under Jose Mourinho and then Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Spanish midfielder could do the same under Ten Hag.

However, that is completely up to Mata and the club. He may not want to move into coaching now or ever for that matter, but in terms of the best possible role for him moving forward at Old Trafford, a dual role as part of Ten Hag’s backroom and the squad would suit him perfectly.

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