Manchester United’s decision to extend Juan Mata’s contract was a move which split opinion among fans earlier this summer.

One person very glad that United did give Mata a 12-month extension is teammate Dan James.

Speaking to United’s club website, James explained that Mata was one of his idols before he joined the Red Devils.

Manchester United v Everton - Pre-season Friendly
(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

James said: “I’d like to say Thierry Henry was a player I always grew up watching. He was unbelievable as soon as he came to the Premier League and he was a great player. And also, a player that I play with now, Juan [Mata] was always an idol of mine growing up and such a professional as well.”

Mata is a player who has proven his quality over the course of his career and is still hoping he can add value to United.

 

Part of what Mata can bring to the squad is his experience, and the tutelage he can provide to the squad’s younger players.

United’s side is stacked with young players, and Mata balances is out. His impact working with them, and setting standards of professionalism along with his talent, could leave a lasting impact for years to come.

James, 23, clearly holds the Spaniard in high regard, and the veteran attacker, 33, will be hoping he can contribute a few memorable moments on the pitch over the next season to make his extended stay worthwhile.

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