Juan Mata has voiced his delight at returning to Carrington to begin pre-season training ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.
The Spaniard made 40 appearances for Manchester United last season but his influence in the starting XI was largely diminished by the almost constant presence of Jesse Lingard and Alexis Sanchez from January onwards.
He will have a chance to impress in the absence of Lingard and Marcus Rashford on the club’s pre-season tour, which kicks off against Club America on July 20.
Mata took to social media to express his enthusiasm at returning to Carrington after a summer break.
— Juan Mata García (@juanmata8) July 11, 2018
A place in the starting XI has never been too far away for Mata at Old Trafford. David Moyes bought him, Louis van Gaal used him often on the right hand side to compliment either Ashley Young or Anthony Martial on the other side, and Mourinho has likewise found a number of roles for him.
But it appears his place may be under threat this season. Mourinho has begun to favour a style of quick, efficient attacking through the centre, using Lingard and Sanchez as conduits to get the ball to Romelu Lukaku, and how Mata fits into this set-up remains to be seen.
He has a month to show the boss exactly what he can still offer to this United side.