Nemanja Matic never lost faith in his ability to win Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s trust and battle his way back into the first-team fold at Manchester United.
The midfielder had been linked with a move away from Old Trafford after struggling for playing time early in the campaign but has since regained his place.
Matic, who described himself as “a solider”, insists he always backed himself to force his way into manager Solskjaer’s plans.
“I always try to be professional and give my best when I am on the pitch, it doesn’t matter if it is training or a game,” the Serbia international, who joined United from Chelsea in 2017, told Sky Sports.
“I’ve played football for a long time already and this situation is normal, sometimes you don’t play and the coach doesn’t see you as a first option. You can accept it or not but you have to be professional.
“You have to work hard, wait for your chance and use it. This is exactly what I did.
Tips for staying positive, from our very own @NemanjaMatic
Friday’s Reds Check-In pic.twitter.com/zbTm0uozw7
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 1, 2020
“Now the situation is different, the coach trusts me more. I’m a soldier and I wait for the instructions from my coaching team.
“To be honest, when you don’t play, of course you think about everything but in my head I always try to be positive.
“I always believe in my quality and I know if work hard my time is going to come again.”
United, who reached the FA Cup semi-final with a 2-1 extra-time victory at Norwich City on Saturday, return to Premier League action at Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday.