Updated: Thursday, 22nd February 2018 @ 2:24pm

Juan Mata has potential to join list of Manchester United's all-time greats, claims Reds legend Ryan Giggs

Juan Mata has potential to join list of Manchester United's all-time greats, claims Reds legend Ryan Giggs

By Tim Hyde

Manchester United’s most decorated player is backing record signing Juan Mata to become one of the club’s all-time greats.

Ryan Giggs has revealed how he believes the Spaniard could establish himself as one of United’s finest ever talents after squaring off against him for the past three years.

The 40-year-old believes that the former Chelsea playmaker could be mentioned in the same bracket as Paul Scholes, George Best and Sir Bobby Charlton by the time he retires.

“He’s obviously got the talent. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him but I don’t see why not,” Giggs told MUTV.

"He has fitted in well. Obviously, we've played against him for the last three years and know the quality he has got. He's fitted in straight away and speaks really good English – better English than most of the lads."

Player-coach Giggs has been at United since he burst onto the stage as a youth team graduate and the Welshman is confident that Mata has all the attributes to shine.

After making 959 appearances for the Red Devils the Stretford End favourite has practically seen it all and, with the addition of a top player, he is excited by what the future can bring.

The Welsh winger added: "The players are just like the fans. When they see a quality player come through the door, it gives them that excitement and you feel it around training. It gives everybody a lift.”

One significant factor that contributed to Mata’s Old Trafford switch was his search for playing time ahead of the World Cup in Brazil this summer.

Giggs is sure that playing for United will help the 25-year-old cement a place in the world-beating Spanish squad – and Mata has already made an impact in his first two games for the current Premier League champions.

The United number 11, said: "I don't want to put too much pressure on him, but I don't see why not. I think that coming here will help him with regards to playing for Spain as well, if he is playing week in and week out [for United].

“Spain have got a great side, so if we have a regular Spanish player within Manchester United, it will be great because they are such a good team at the moment.”

Since joining David Moyes’ side for £37.1million the creative midfielder has played a major part in assisting the prolific Robin van Persie against Cardiff and Stoke.

Even with Mata’s addition to the squad, United have struggled to live up to fans expectations – falling to Stoke at the weekend.

The defeat at the Potters has left Moyes’ side seven points behind fourth and in desperate need to rediscover their form ahead of the final stretch of the season.

Image courtesy of Ronnie MacDonald, with thanks

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