Manchester United have yet another international beak to sit through before attempting to continue their regained momentum.
While the loss to AFC Bournemouth spoilt an otherwise brilliant recent spell of games, there is a mixed bag of both positives and negatives to take away from this season.
The usual hunt for silverware and domestic dominance seems like an assuredly lost cause with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer eager on rebuilding the squad and equipping them for future challenges.
Some of the trends with regard to the same, particularly in the performances of their academy graduates, paint a positive picture.
However, now some interesting news exists about an older talent.
Juan Mata has a new role at Manchester United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s illustrated the Spaniard’s task by stating (via MEN) : “When we spoke to Juan about the contract extension, I spoke to him about he’s not going to play every game. He’s going to be very, very important in reshaping the culture of the group, of the team. He will play his share of games. He’s played in the Premier League, in the cup. Juan is the type of player who needs movement around him and he got that tonight. I thought you saw a better Juan and the way we can use him.”
Mata was arguably United’s best bet at a central attacking midfielder against Partizan when compared to this campaign’s rather lackluster showings of Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard.
However, this ‘reshaping of the culture’ is a vital responsibility and one that further translates into a leader’s presence in the roster. At the moment, the youthful first-team players at Old Trafford don’t have a steady figure of experience to look up to.
Mata can fulfill this role and it would certainly make his unexpected contract extension a more meaningful one, perhaps akin to the roles that Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick fulfilled late in their careers.