Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told to start 31-year-old for Man United more often

BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks says Manchester United star Juan Mata deserves a regular spot in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team

Juan Mata
Juan Mata (Photo: The Sport Review)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to realise Juan Mata can still play a key role from the start at Manchester United, according to BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks.

The Spanish playmaker was named in Solskjaer’s starting XI for just the sixth time in the Premier League this season for the visit of Norwich City at Old Trafford.

Mata justified his inclusion with assists for Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in Manchester United’s 4-0 rout of the Premier League’s basement club.

The 31-year-old was influential in a role on the wide right as the former Chelsea FC midfielder completed 90 minutes for the first time in the Premier League this term.

Mata’s performance helped Manchester United to record their first win of 2020 in all competitions after losing to Arsenal and Manchester City in two of their opening three games of the calendar year.

BBC Sport pundit Crooks believes that Solskjaer needs to start Mata more regularly after the Spaniard’s creativity helped Manchester United to secure three points at the weekend.

“The ball for Marcus Rashford to score Manchester United’s opening goal against a soon-to-be-ravaged Norwich City was wonderful,” Crooks told BBC Sport.

“There are few players in the Premier League capable of delivering such a ball – but Mata is one of them. The former Spain playmaker looked up, saw what Rashford saw, and played a pass that rendered everyone in the ground – including the entire Norwich defence – as spectators.

“Manchester United are simply not good enough to keep a player of Mata’s quality on the bench these days. When is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer going to realise that?”

Mata provided two assists in a Premier League game for the first time since October 2012.

Although Mata was in the blue of Chelsea FC at the time, his assists also came against Norwich.

Mata has scored one goal and has made four assists in 19 games in all competitions this term.

MORE: Latest Manchester United news and views

MORE: Football transfer rumours and gossip

Brighton and England defender Ben White (Photo: Sky Sports / Screen grab)
Arsenal closing in on deal for England defender Ben White - report
Spain legend Sergio Ramos (Photo: @sergioramos / Instagram)
'I'm shocked': Steve Nicol reacts to Man United link to Sergio Ramos
Timo Werner
Thomas Tuchel makes decision about future of Timo Werner - report
Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool FC have no plans to sell Kostas Tsimikas this summer - report
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Craig Burley predicts where Man United will finish next season
Brighton and England defender Ben White (Photo: Sky Sports / Screen grab)
Arsenal closing in on deal for England defender Ben White - report
Spain legend Sergio Ramos (Photo: @sergioramos / Instagram)
'I'm shocked': Steve Nicol reacts to Man United link to Sergio Ramos
Timo Werner
Thomas Tuchel makes decision about future of Timo Werner - report
Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool FC have no plans to sell Kostas Tsimikas this summer - report
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Craig Burley predicts where Man United will finish next season
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature