Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has highlighted the importance of Nemanja Matic’s ‘experience, professionalism and leadership’ within his squad after handing the veteran a new three-year deal.
The Serbian midfielder seemed well off the pace at the start of the season, though Solskjaer was left with little option to play him following injuries to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay.
Since his reintroduction to the side, the former Chelsea player rediscovered some of his best form, being an integral part of the Manchester United midfield, featuring in all but one Premier League game since December 28th.
Despite the arrival of Bruno Fernandes and the return to fitness of Pogba, Matic has continued to be preferred to McTominay and the resurgent Fred, his calming influence and defensive-mindedness integral to a United side who are now 16 games unbeaten in all competitions as they make a late charge towards the top four.
United, like many Premier League clubs, have generally only handed out one-year extensions to players in their thirties, though have chosen to hand Matic – who is 32 next month – a three-year deal until 2023, with Solskjaer praising his ‘invaluable’ attributes within his young side.
“I am delighted that Nemanja has signed a new contract, I know his experience, professionalism and leadership will be invaluable to this young talented group,” the Norwegian told ManUtd.com.
“We have great strength in midfield and Nemanja’s attributes are a key part of that. Nemanja has been here for three seasons now and really understands the values of playing for Manchester United.
“He remains hugely ambitious and determined which will be vital as we look to achieve our aims over the coming years.”