Juan Mata determined to impress new Spain manager Luis Enrique

by Leo Nieboer

Juan Mata has voiced his determination to reestablish himself in the Spanish national side following the appointment of manager Luis Enrique.

The Spaniard’s last appearance for the national side came against England in November 2016 during the early days of manager Julen Lopetegui, who ended up ostracising him from his plans.

But following the sacking of Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup, during which Spain embarrassingly crashed out to Russia in the last 16, severe changes are expected in approach and style under Enrique.

And Mata, speaking to Marca, has voiced his ambition to use this managerial change as a chance to reassert himself on the national side.

“I will do everything in my power to return to the national team,” he said.

“I hope the new coach will count on me because I’m going to do everything possible to go back. I would love to help Spain become champions again.”

“I now return to work [with United] and I hope this is a passionate season, a good one for me and for my team,” head said. The aim is to win the Premier League and do a good job in the Champions League, but above all to continue to enjoy playing football. This is my eighth year in English football and I consider myself a privileged person.”

Mata, now 30, ought to take some inspiration from Ashley Young, who went five long years without even the hint of a national team call-up before finally getting his chance under Gareth Southgate aged 33. He is now just 180 minutes away from being a world champion.

You would think such a change of fortune would be brought about by leaving the club, seeking pastures new. But this didn’t happen with Young. The Englishman simply stuck it out, kept waiting, and took his chance when it came.

And there is no reason why Mata, who would serve as a welcome voice in a disjointed dressing room, cannot do the same next season.

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