Rewind a few months and Nemanja Matic’s spell at Manchester United appeared to be coming to an end. At the time, most fans would have agreed that the Serbian international was not what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needed. But things change quickly in football.
United triggered the one-year extension in Matic’s contract in mid-March after a huge upturn in the player’s form and, while football is currently on hiatus, the 31-year-old will know he has a vital role to play when it does finally return.
Solskjaer has made it clear that he plans to build a young United side that can flourish for a generation. But, in so doing, he will need a few old heads to guide that youth.
In Harry Maguire, United have a born leader. However, at 31, Matic is likely to be one of the Red Devils’ oldest first-team regulars in 2021 and he will play a major role both on and off the field.
Four years older than the skipper, the Serbian star’s voice will be just as loud and just as influential. He can also be the calming presence when United push for the title next season.
Signed for £40million in 2017 (BBC) Matic knows what it takes to win after picking up three Premier League trophies, the FA Cup and the League Cup thus far.
It is that experience in getting over the line that Matic brings to the new-look United.
Solskjaer will understand his importance and he could take on a role similar to the class of 92, ensuring the dressing room is upbeat and strong in character no matter the opponent.