Darren Fletcher Manchester United
Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher in action against Aston Villa, December 15. Reuters

Darren Fletcher has insisted that Juan Mata is a number 10 rather than a winger, while refusing to compare the Spaniard with Manchester United legend Paul Scholes.

Mata scored a brace and grabbed an assist during United's 4-0 victory against Newcastle, easily his best performance since his January move from Chelsea.

Following the Spaniard's starring role in the hole behind Javier Hernandez, some pundits have begun to compare him with Scholes.

However, Fletcher believes that Mata is a different player as he plays in a more advanced role than the legendary midfielder.

"Obviously, he [Mata] plays a bit more advanced than Paul. Scholes got stuck in. Juan is a classic no.10. He controls the pace of games. He has got an eye for a killer pass. He can slow it down, take two or three touches, and take the pace out of the game. He is just a really intelligent footballer," Fletcher said.

"It's been a disappointing season this season in the league and in the cups. Hopefully, we can kick on and he [Mata] can produce form like he showed at Newcastle and we can really get back to challenging for the title next season."

Asked bout what Mata brings to David Moyes' squad, Fletcher said: "Composure. He's an intelligent footballer who gives you a bit of everything: assists, goals. Also, off the ball.

"Although he might not be making tackles here, there and everywhere, he reads the game fantastically. Seeing him playing in front of me, the position he takes up, how he is blocking off passes, he does a good job for the team as well.He covers a lot of distances.

"If you see his stats, they are always one of the highest in the team. He is a really big player and he has settled into this squad fantastically. Once he got his first goal, he has kicked on again now and got another two," Fletcher added.

"There are fantastic players here and we had an opportunity to sign Juan – he has come in and been brilliant. He is improving all the time and I think his performances are getting better and better. We are starting to see the best of him now in this classic no.10 role, and long may it continue."