Andreas Pereira has waited in the shadows for long and now his time may have finally come.
Pereira started off his career with lower division Belgian side Lommel United where he got his initial football education. Owing to the talent the young boy clearly had, he soon made the move to the other side of the Dutch border to Eindhoven.
With clubs such as Arsenal and Chelsea bidding for his signature, he chose to sign for United, apparently after Ferguson convinced him on making the move. Pereira, a Brazilian by nationality, has been at the Manchester United set-up for a while. Brought over by Sir Alex from Eindhoven when he was 16, he became a regular feature in the age division teams and ultimately the reserve team.
Apart from his obvious talent and skill, his first claim to fame would be having being named the Reserve Team Player of the Year for United in the 14-15 season and a screamer he scored from outside the box in the U20 World Cup for Brazil. He in fact also scored the equalizer in the final of the U20 World Cup, though Brazil were eventually beaten by Serbia, 2-1.
Capable of playing as an attacking prospect, a deep-lying player or more specifically as a number 8, in his 6 years in United, he has been loaned out twice, to Granada and Valencia for a season each. While at Granada, he managed to get 37 matched under his belt. Not a bad haul for a kid who was 20 at the time.
What is also impressive is that he also managed to bag 5 goals and 2 assists in these 37 matches. At Granada though, Pereira played more of a number 10 role in the setup. Valencia, however, was a different experience for Pereira. Coming into a team, where the team is not dependent on you can be a daunting task.
Having to deal with exactly this at Valencia, Pereira did not feature heavily in the first team. Pereira did, however, have a pretty good first half to the season at Valencia. At Valencia though, he was used more as a wide midfielder, which one may argue, is not the best and most natural position for him.
But what is heartening to see is that even in this role, Pereira was not one to restrict himself. Pereira is the kind of player who, if required to play on the wings, will be more than willing to take on defenders instead of waiting for an overlap from a left-back or right-back.
While his stint at Valencia is not the best demonstration or example of his skills, it does show that he has what it takes to play with one of the better sides in a league and give it his all. Pereira is also a constant of the Brazilian age division sides and has, in fact, received his maiden call-up to the senior team for the matches against USA and El Salvador.
While Pereira has only played a few matches after returning to Old Trafford, he has shown promise, most crucially, in the pre-season against Milan and the season opener against Leicester. The pre-season match against Milan showcased his calmness and efficiency on the ball.
He is someone who is comfortable on the ball and has a wide and exciting passing array at his disposal. After both these matches, there was a huge outcry on social media to get Jose to include Pereira in this plans for this season, with some folks also arguing that he should be ahead of Ander Herrera in the pecking order and could be the ideal replacement for the midfield trio of Pogba, Fred and Matic.
But an important point to note is that he was taken off at halftime in the match against Brighton Hove and Albion to make way for Lingard for more creative options. This proves an important point that he is not world class. At least not yet. And like every other player, the more he plays, the more he will improve and thrive.
With United, what I always fear is that Pereira will be let go due to a team full of superstars. I do not think United supporters will be able to take another Pogba incident. With a player you have invested in for many years and one who has done reasonably well in Spain, it is important to give him a time to shine.
Time to express themselves and time to gel into a team which shows promise season in and season and yet fails to live up to the expectations. Maybe Pereira is another player in the mould of the class of 92, who can come through the system and leave Trafford with the status of a legend. Maybe.
Jose, are you listening?Published 22 Aug 2018, 14:53 IST