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Juan Mata: 'Ole Gunnar Solskjaer values my experience'

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata, who is the oldest outfield player in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad, insists that he still feels "young".

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has insisted that he has no intention of hanging up his boots any time soon and believes that his experience can help him provide a vital insight to the club's younger players.

The Spaniard is now the oldest outfield player in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad at Old Trafford, with only goalkeepers Lee Grant and Sergio Romero being born before Mata from the current squad.

The 31-year-old's contract with United expires next summer, but they do have the option to extend that by a further 12 months and Mata suggested that his experience can be an asset to Solskjaer.

"I would enjoy it more to be 20 years old. I think it's good because it makes you see football in a different way, with more perspective and, of course, with more experience," Mata told the Official Manchester United Podcast.

"I feel young, honestly, in my body and in my mind. But obviously I've been playing in a club, and in English football and professionally for 12, 13 years now. So that gives me experience, especially in difficult situations, to behave in a certain way or give advice to the young players.

"I think Ole values that also. Me as a player, what I can give on the pitch, but also that I will try my best off the pitch for the new players that come, like right now Bruno [Fernandes] and Odion [Ighalo] and for the youngsters that come through the academy.

"You come as a youngster from the academy, like Marcus Rashford came in the beginning. He was shy and now he's more mature. I think it's important to have this balance in a team where you have the energy and enthusiasm of the youngsters and the experience and the knowledge of the experienced ones, not the older ones."

Mata joined United from Chelsea in 2014 and has since made 249 appearances for the club, directly contributing to 90 goals.

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Thursday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

MARATHON SWIMMING
· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

BOXING
· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

DIVING
· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

HOCKEY
· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

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