Mata expects big things from James and Wan-Bissaka
The Red Devils have added the pair of 21-year-olds and the elder statesman praised them and four other young homegrown players
New signings Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are eager to prove themselves and have a big part to play at Manchester United, according to midfielder Juan Mata.
Following the disappointment of finishing sixth in the Premier League last season, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has focused on bringing in young, British talent in the transfer market, in a bid to return to the Champions League.
James arrived in a reported £15million deal from Swansea City in June and Wan-Bissaka followed close behind from Crystal Palace for around £50m.
The duo, both aged 21, have been training with their new team-mates over the past week and Mata said they are settling in well.
“You can see it from the first moment – they both have their qualities,” he said in an interview on United’s official app. “Wan-Bissaka has played in the Premier League before and James has been doing great things at Swansea.
“Hopefully they can give us a lot. They are very important because they are very young and very hungry to give their best for the club.”
Academy products Tahith Chong, James Garner, Mason Greenwood and Angel Gomes are also part of United’s squad for their pre-season tour of Australia and Asia.
Mata, who signed a new two-year deal with the Red Devils in June to take him through until the age of 33, is happy to take the younger members in the group under his wing.
“I have to say that first of all they are very nice guys,” he said. “Sometimes when you are their age you can lose your head a little bit and think you are a better player, or bigger players, than you actually are.
“But they are very calm and very humble, the four of them. They are trying their best. I really like them as personalities and as players. That is why they are here.
“[Solskjaer] knows that in a squad you need balance, you need a mix of young players and more experienced players.”
He added: “It is true that time flies and it feels like yesterday when I was 22, 23, but I have been playing football now for a long time – 12, 13 years as a professional.
“I enjoy that part of the game, speaking to young players now and trying to tell them how I understand football, how I think professional football players should be, but obviously my focus is still on giving my best on the pitch.
“I want to play as much as I can, I want to score and to assist. That is my main focus. But I enjoy speaking with Marcus [Rashford], with Mason, with Jimmy, with Gomes and Chongy. They are great guys and they have a great future ahead.”
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