Man Utd star Mata targeting end to Spain exile under Luis Enrique

Comments()
Getty Images
The World Cup winner is excited by a renewed sense of hope of representing his country for the first time since 2016

Luis Enrique's declaration of a clean slate for Spain is giving Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata hope his international exile may soon be over.

Mata, 30, has not featured for Spain since 2016 and was overlooked for the country's ill-fated World Cup campaign.

But the shock dismissal of Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament and recent appointment of Luis Enrique has led to a change in thinking that could see the playmaker return to the fold.

Former Barcelona boss Enrique has included both new faces and "players who have disappeared" on an initial 70-man shortlist for his first match in charge, a UEFA Nations League clash with England at Wembley Stadium in September.

"I'm again excited about the possibility of coming back," Mata told ESPN.

"I obviously want to come back and try to play as many games as I can with the national team.

"I'm really excited about it and I think the future, it can be still bright for Spain, because we have young players coming [through] that, as I said, they have the level to compete.

Article continues below

"We have some senior players that 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 has won 41 caps and scored 10 goals for Spain.

He debuted in 2009 and was part of the squad that were crowned champions at the 2010 World Cup.

Close