July 25, 2018 / 6:46 AM / 2 months ago

Soccer: Manchester United's Mata keen to end Spain exile under Enrique

(Reuters) - Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata is optimistic of reviving his international career with Spain following the appointment of Luis Enrique as the national team’s new manager earlier this month.

Soccer Football - Champions League - Manchester United Training - Aon Training Complex, Manchester, Britain - March 12, 2018 Manchester United's Juan Mata during training Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff/Files

The 30-year-old was part of the victorious Spain teams at the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 European Championship but earned the most recent of his 41 caps for the nation in a friendly in November 2016.

Mata was excluded from Spain’s squad for this year’s World Cup but is hopeful of turning his fortunes around under former Barcelona boss Enrique.

“I was disappointed not to go (to the World Cup),” Mata told ESPN. “But then after that, I was hoping for them to win...

“Now, things have changed. We have a new manager again, Luis Enrique... I’m again excited about the possibility of coming back. I obviously want to come back and try to play as many games as I can with the national team.”

Mata believes the emergence of a new generation along with the presence of experienced players will propel Spain to new heights in the future.

“I’m really excited about it and I think the future, it can be still bright for Spain, because we have young players coming that, as I said, they have the level to compete,” he added.

“We have some senior players that we have been there for some years and we have the experience so I think it’s a good mix and hopefully it can be a good future for Spanish football.”

Mata is one of few senior United players currently participating in the club’s pre-season tour of the United States, where manager Jose Mourinho’s team will face AC Milan in the International Champions Cup on Thursday.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Newcastle United vs Manchester United - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - February 11, 2018 Manchester United's Juan Mata waves to the fans at the end of the match REUTERS/Scott Heppell/Files

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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