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Jose Mourinho to give Andreas Pereira a first team opportunity this season…

Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira has confirmed that manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed he would be given an opportunity within the first team this season. The 22-year-old has been at the Old Trafford club since the age of 16, in 2012, when he signed from PSV Eindhoven. In November 2011, Sir Alex Ferguson had convinced Pereira to sign for the Old Trafford club on his 16th birthday, on the 1st January 2012, despite the interest of Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool.

Pereira has been an exciting player to watch throughout his time at the clubs academy, playing for the U18s, U19s, and U21s, which has now become the U23 side. During his time within the Academy, Pereira made a total of 78 appearances (61 starts and 17 substitute appearances), scoring 20 goals and adding a further 14 assists. The Belgian-born Brazilian has made 13 competitive appearances for the first team in his time at the club, making his debut in the 4-0 defeat to MK Dons in the Capital One Cup during the 2014/15 season.

From that match, one of Louis van Gaal’s highest defeats, only three players remain at the club; David De Gea, Pereira and James Wilson. Pereira has scored one goal for United, which came in the 3-0 victory over Ipswich Town in the Capital One Cup 13 months after making his debut at MK Dons, scoring the second goal in the 60th minute of the match, flanked either side of Wayne Rooney’s 23rd-minute opener and Anthony Martial’s 92nd-minute goal which sealed United win.

Pereira, despite wanting more first team football at the club, was sent out on loan to Granada in Spain during Mourinho’s first season at the club. That season he played 37 times, scoring five goals for the La Liga side, who were relegated that season. It was suggested that Pereira would use his season on loan to get into Mourinho’s first team during the Portuguese manager’s second season and despite a few good performances in pre-season, the player opted to force a loan move back to La Liga, playing for Valencia, amid reluctance from Mourinho himself.

During the past season, Valencia finished fourth in La Liga, earning a UEFA Champions League place. Pereira made only 29 appearances, partly due to injury, scoring just one goal, which was not the best start for him. Looking back with hindsight, Pereira would have please Mourinho if he had stayed at the Old Trafford club as injuries amongst the midfield players caused many problems with Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini on the sidelines for long periods. This saw Scott McTominay come through the ranks, possibly staying ahead of Pereira.

With United’s pre-season tour of the United States of America a fortnight away, Pereira has revealed to Belgium newspaper Het Belang van Limburgwhen, reported by the Daily Mail, that he has had a chat with Mourinho, who confirmed the 22-year-old would get his chance this season. The first chance will be during pre-season with Pereira expected to be one of the most experienced midfielders in the squad, along with Herrera because of the fact Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Marouane Fellaini and Fred have been on FIFA World Cup duty this summer. Pereira said:

“I told him (Mourinho) that I felt ready to compete. He was happy to hear that and said I would get my chance. Now we will see how it goes in pre-season. Then we are together again, but of course, I hope to convince him.

“Breaking through at Manchester United is and remains the big dream. After two good seasons in Spain, I know that I can always go there. Valencia wanted to keep me, but at the moment my goals are in England.

“I want to make it at Manchester United. At Valencia, I have proven that I can participate at the highest level. That’s what I hope to show in Manchester now.”

United will most likely have a balanced midfield this season with Pogba, Matic, Herrera, Fred, Fellaini, McTominay and Pereira all in the side and there is an added benefit that Pereira could take up a place as a winger, which is a position he has played at times for United also for Valencia last season. However, last summer in the USA, Pereira was player centrally so his inclusion, which may follow with success in the position, could mean that Mourinho’s midfield is settled ahead of the new season.

If Pereira takes his chance and impresses his manager, not only with it save a lot of money for United in having to reinforce their midfield, it will also be yet another academy graduate who has in effect, made it at the Theatre of Dreams. Many will see Pereira as a villain for forcing himself out of the club on loan last season, which with hindsight could have left United with ample cover in midfield, but the lad wanted to play first team football, which may aid his development. Many will be watching this season for signs of his development, which could be exciting.

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