Andreas Pereira is a player with talent but, whilst playing for Manchester United’s U21 side last season, he seemed to want to humiliate his opposition by trying to score from the corner, like team-mate Adnan Januzaj. Now that Louis van Gaal has gone, a manager who stopped the player from heading out on loan during the January transfer window, not using him for the rest of the season after the 5-1 victory over Midtjylland at Old Trafford at the end of February, the Belgian-born Brazilian will be looking forward to showing new United manager Jose Mourinho what he can do for his club. Pereira was in the squad which travelled to Wigan Athletic for their first pre-season friendly on Saturday, starting the second half of the match – the half which produced both goals with United winning 2-0.
Pereira showed the new manager and the club’s supporters of his attacking abilities by firing United’s second goal of the match, which started off with a scuffed shot from Ander Herrera, which came back off a Wigan defender, the 20-year-old reacted quickly to fire his shot into the top left-hand corner. It was a match which United won comfortable, one which also saw both Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly make their debuts and most importantly one which saw the return of left-back Luke Shaw after sitting out for the last ten months recovering from a double leg fracture sustained back in September 2015. Mourinho, now a fan’s favourite for the way he likes to stand in the technical area, rather than sitting down in the dugout for the entire match, kept his eyes on his new site guiding them to victory. Pereira, one of the player to get the Portuguese’s attention with him speaking to MUTV after the victory, saying:
“Andreas has lots of talent – he has incredible vision and an incredible technique.”
Pereira, also speaking to MUTV after the match agreed with commentator Stewart Gardner’s goal description, said:
“I’m very happy that I scored in this game, and yeah, it was not a bad strike at all.”
Pereira replaced central midfielder Michael Carrick, one of seven planned substitutions which Mourinho was going to make at the end of the first half, giving all the players in his squad a chance to show him and their team-mates just what they can do. United have a big squad, including the youth players, and Mourinho will be looking to assess each and every one of them to find out who makes his main squad, who will need to impress a bit more from the fringes to earn a place in his squad and who needs a bit more development before they can make the leap from youth football, to first team football. Pereira, speaking to the official Manchester United website about playing in other positions and getting some minutes under his belt, said:
“I can play in other positions but I enjoyed that role a lot.
“I think it was very important for me to get some minutes and show the manager and show the team that I can help them. I am very happy that I could help.”
Nearly two years ago, in the second round of the Capital One Cup, now the EFL Cup, Pereira made his first team debut in a 4-0 defeat the MK Dons. Only four players who played in that game are still at the club; David De Gea, Adnan Januzaj, Andreas Pereira, and James Wilson. Louis van Gaal needed to clear some of the dead wood from the club, also got rid of some players who may have still had a future at the club, despite many being divided on that; Javier Hernandez, Shinji Kagawa and Michael Keane. Januzaj and Wilson spent much of last season out on loan with a failed spell for Januzaj at Borussia Dortmund and an eye-opening spell at Brighton & Hove Albion for Wilson, which may have helped in his development. Pereira wanted some minutes on the pitch, opted for a loan spell, which was blocked by the Dutch manager. Pereira made 11 appearances for United last season, scoring one goal; a free-kick against Ipswich Town at Old Trafford, will United winning 3-0.
After appearing as a substitute four minutes from time in the 5-1 thrashing of Midtjylland in the UEFA Europa League, Pereira was not used for the remainder of the season from there, in the first team at least. The Midtjylland match was the one which many supporters will remember – United need a win to remain in the secondary European competition, Anthony Martial being withdrawn from the match after injuring himself in the warm-up and Marcus Rashford starting and making a name for himself by scoring a brace. Pereira is determined to make a name for himself in the first team under Mourinho, many other players will be vying for the same thing. Speaking of his determination to impress the new manager, Pereira said:
“It’s very important for me. I want to show the manager, to show the people around the club, to show the players that I can help this season. It’s very important for me. I want to show this in training and just keep working hard.”
Pereira has the talent to succeed. His position within the first team might not be the one that he wants; number ten, but he said himself that he can play in other positions. Mourinho does not like players who can play many different positions, going for ones who are 100% focussed on one position, which would see them either walk straight into the starting XI or be a rotation option. Pereira has started well during pre-season, but will now need to wait and see if he will be one of the players heading to China this week, where United will face both Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City. I think he probably will be as Chris Smalling, Wayne Rooney and Marcus Rashford will travel, but not play in any of the matches, so a large squad will be travelling, with Mourinho having lots of choices to select a good squad to do the business on the tour. United will also play Galatasaray in Sweden at the end of the month, with a match against Everton for Wayne Rooney’s testimonial at the start of August, before the FA Community Shield against Leicester City at Wembley, which will be a match Mourinho will most likely have his squad in mind for their opening Premier League fixture away to Bournemouth the following Sunday.