Instead of ‘seeking assurances’ Andreas Pereira needs to take a hard look at himself and see if he has what it takes to succeed

Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira is reportedly ‘seeking assurances’ of the role he could play at the Old Trafford club next season. Pereira defied Jose Mourinho at the start of the season by forcing a loan spell to Valencia for the entire season. This was because the player wanted to play first team football this season, rather than playing a bit-part role at the Theatre of Dreams, which could have been the case.

Hindsight is fantastic and is the Belgium-born Brazilian had remained at United, he would have played with Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera all being on the sidelines for prolonged periods. Of course, the player had no guarantees of this happening, choosing instead to head to La Liga and play first team football this season. Personally, I see this as a cop-out and a sign that the player lacks fight. I could be wrong, but it does not look like he has much respect for United, especially in that he is ‘seeking assurances’.

Why does a player need assurances? Why should a manager give a player assurances? If a player is good enough and does what they are told and expected to do, they will keep their place in the team. Pereira has seen his stock fall in recent years, not just because of the petulance he has shown when playing for the U21’s with both he and Adnan Januzaj aiming to score goals from corners, not to mention the times Warren Joyce, Nicky Butt and others have been shouting at them from the sidelines.

Pereira is a talented player and he seems to want to achieve something, but assurances are not going to do that. The only thing a manager should assure a player is that he will get them to train with the rest of the squad, teach them what they will be expected to do ahead of each match and if selected to start, or even come off the bench, that player will be expected to give their all for the club, the manager, the fans and their teammates. That is the only assurance Pereira should be given.

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The reluctance of the 22-year-old to remain at United this season, fighting for a place, earning the respect of the manager and his teammates, seems a bit negative, not by United, Mourinho or his teammates, but by Pereira himself. It shows that despite him wanting to kick on as a player and get involved in first team football, which is fine, but doing that with a club other than United seemed to be the easy option for him. It should not be easy to get into United’s first team and it should not be because you have sought assurances either.

A Manchester United player should be seeking chances, impressing the manager, showing their teammates what they can do, not going to where it is easier to play, not directly showing the manager what they can do, leaving teammates high and dry, which is what could have happened this season if there were more injuries to the clubs midfield. Pereira would have had the chance to establish himself at the club this season, as a central midfielder, which is where he was played during pre-season, doing quite well, despite the opposition he faced.

Before heading on loan to Valencia, Pereira signed a new contract at the Old Trafford club, which would keep him there until the summer of 2019, with the option of a further 12-months to be added. On signing that new contract, Mourinho, who clearly rated the player at the time, said:

“Andreas is already a very good footballer. He is a young player with great natural ability and a good attitude towards continuing his development. I have no doubt that he has the potential to be one of the future great players of this club.”

Pereira, speaking of his enthusiasm for the club and the delight to sign a contract extension spoke about how the manager is building a great team at United and that he wanted to become a part of that – which is obviously why he chose to go out on loan, rather than show the manager what he was capable of. Pereira said:

“I am delighted that I have extended my contract with this great club. The manager is building a great team here and I want to be part of that as soon as possible. I am going to continue my development at Valencia this season in the hope that I will get plenty of minutes on the pitch. I would like to thank the manager for his help and guidance and for the faith he has shown in me.”

Now, some may disagree with me, that is fine, but if Pereira really wanted to be part of Manchester United, he would have stayed at the club and fought for his place. It was known that Michael Carrick, who signed a new one-year contract last summer, was likely to retire at the end of the current season, which is the case, also that despite having Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic, who were both signed by Mourinho, there were chances that more midfielders would be needed at the club in order to compete with the best teams in England and in Europe.

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This season has seen Scott McTominay granted a chance to impress, after having a few chances to do so at the end of last season. The 21-year-old has started to establish himself at the club, has been praised by Mourinho, Matic, and other teammates, also the clubs supporters who see the important role he can fill within the team. Ander Herrera is a player who has also earned the plaudits this season, despite being on the sidelines for long spells. Pereira may find himself behind those, and any new signings this summer, which will require a much bigger fight.

Pereira can obviously play in other positions, attacking midfield, which could see him given a bigger chance, especially in the right-wing role – with no player managing to hold down that position this season. Still, putting him ahead of Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Alexis Sanchez, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial would be hard to see at this time. This season, Pereira has made 19 appearances for Valencia in La Liga, earning a rating of 6.57, which is not the best I have seen. Pereira has also played four times in the Copa del Rey. He has scored once, assisting three more goals.

On average in La Liga, Pereira has had 0.7 shots, 0.8 key passes, 0.7 dribbles, and is dispossessed 0.8 times per match. Those stats are not the best for an offensive player. His passing accuracy is not the best either, just 69.2%. Defensively,  Pereira’s game needs to severely improve, if he is to play in midfield at United, averaging 1.1 tackles, 0.4 interceptions, 0.2 clearances and 0.1 blocks per match. These stats do not do much justice to the player and he would need to improve severely.

It all depends what happens this summer. It is unlikely that Pereira will be selected to play for Brazil in the World Cup this summer, so he could have a rest, recover from any ailments he suffers between now and the end of the season and head to the United States of America on the clubs pre-season tour, seeing if he can catch the eye of the manager, who may have a plan for him. If seeking assurances is something Pereira needs to do, he should be doing that by showing Mourinho what he can do for United, not forcing another loan spell.

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