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The virtue of patience and why Andreas Pereira shouldn’t be thrown to the wolves just yet

Bear with me for a moment but this is an article about Manchester United, scout’s honour.

As a child growing up you have no doubt been tired of waiting for something and had a little moan only to be told, ‘Patience is a virtue.’ Hearing it as a child was likely infuriating, but back in the days of old patience was necessary. Now we live in a hi-tech world of instant communication, instant video, instant everything and humanity is striving more and more to discover new and faster ways to get everything to you.

Because of this a lot of people have grown impatient and forgotten what it’s like to wait for things, but as the other saying goes, ‘Good things come to those who wait.’

When it comes to football patience is needed more than ever, with managers and players alike. Too often is a manager dismissed before managing to imprint himself on a team or a player thrown to the wolves after not giving a 10/10 performance in his first few games, or when they make a mistake that even other, more senior players make.

The problem here is that football, whilst a global phenomenon, is different in every part of the globe with different playing styles as well as some leagues being dominated by one or two teams thus leaving the other teams in the dust.

Because of this, it is truly very difficult to determine whether or not a player or manager from another league will fit in. There is another saying in football, and I hope this is my last saying as you’re surely wondering when they’ll end by now, and that saying goes, ‘Can he do it on a cold rainy Tuesday at Stoke?’

The reason that question is asked is that Stoke is known as one of the more difficult teams to break down at home and even more difficult on a cold rainy night. Would Lionel Messi be able to hack it in the Premier League? How about Neymar Jr? Questions we’ll likely never see the answer to but ones worth asking as the physical demands of the Premier League and the competitiveness of it makes it somewhat unique. A player who can do the business in Spain, Italy, France and the like, might not be able to adjust to the rigours of English football.

This is why when it comes to Manchester United the fans need to show patience, see, I told you it’d be about United.

Manchester United is arguably the biggest football club in the world and one that caused many people around the world to fall in love with football. However, it would be remiss of me to avoid the elephant in the room and that is that the club has not been at the top where it belongs for a while now. That discussion is one for another day.

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However, the point of this article is to discuss patience and why the club needs to show it.

I’ll begin with Andrea Pereira, the 23 Brazilian midfielder who spent the last two seasons out on loan at Valencia and Granada. If you recognise those teams, and if you’re reading this then you surely do, you will know that both teams play in Spain, a league dominated by Real Madrid and Barcelona. With five goals and three assists in 35 for Granada and one goal and three assists in 23 for Valencia you’d be forgiven for thinking his return is a little low, but from reports of those who regularly watch La Liga, Pereira was always playing well and was showing a definite quality to his game that could benefit United.

Fast forward to today and we are entering February of 2019. Pereira has not been sent on loan and has stayed with the first team. Many took this as a sign of things to come and that he would be battling it out for a spot in the starting line-up week in week out. However, him holding down a regular spot has so far failed to happen.

Playing a part in only seven games thus far, four from the bench, he has shown little to justify any hype he had after an impressive pre-season with the team. Although he has yet to score or assist he does have an impressive 87% pass succession, which as a deeper lying midfielder is essential.

Against Burnley in the 2-2 draw, Pereira was responsible for the first goal after trying to do some fancy footwork and losing the ball, which allowed them to score their first goal. If you visited Twitter, or any forum, after that you would have seen a lot of people saying Pereira is not United quality and he shouldn’t be near the first team.

This kind of thinking is a double-edged sword though, as when it comes to players and seeing if they are good enough for the first team some will take longer than others, and considering Pereira played two seasons in a weaker and less demanding league, as well as his lack of playing time this season, it is little wonder that he is not yet used to the physicality of the league. Countless players have come and failed because they couldn’t adjust but in equal measure, at least, countless players have succeeded and gotten used to the physically demanding aspect and thrived.

To look into the history of Manchester United there are two players that spring to mind immediately and those are David De Gea and Nemanja Vidic. Both players struggled at first but in time they grew into the world-class players they became because they were shown patience and allowed the time to adjust.

What if De Gea was new to the team this season and had the kind of season he had when he originally joined, because many fans remember his first season as borderline woeful with mistakes and failed attempts at stopping the ball from going in the back of the net, would the United faithful be so lenient with him or would they have their pitchforks out and be screaming for blood. Right now he is the best goalkeeper in the world without a shadow of a doubt, but if the team had lost patience with him he may never have gained that mantle.

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If we were to look even closer to the present we can look at the team’s Swedish defender Victor Lindelöf. In his second season with the club, there aren’t many who would have predicted that they would be calling him the best defender in the team at this point. In every game he played in his first season it seemed as though he was on the verge of another mistake that would lead to a goal and many fans were calling for his head.

However he was shown patience and given time and now there isn’t a single fan who would want him sold because of how incredible his performances have been this season, and to add to that he even got his first goal for the club against Burnley in the same match fans are using to show why Pereira should be shown the door.

On the other end of the spectrum for the club, there have been failures too, who were shown patience and never showed the kind of form or ability to adjust that others have.

Again I will use a recent example and there is one name who will cause fans to shudder, not just because of his poor performances, bar a few, but because of his difficult to spell name. That man is Henrikh Mkhitaryan, bought from Dortmund in Mourinho’s first season in charge hot off the heels of being named the Bundesliga Players’ Player of the Season.

His signing was an exciting one for many fans and one which left them licking their lips with anticipation at the assists that would surely come. However, he ended up being a massive disappointment to both fans of United and Arsenal, after seeing him swapped with Sanchez. In his final season with Dortmund, he managed to rack up an impressive 15 league assists and finish as the league leader in assists, one of the reasons he was named player’s player of the season. Now in his third season in the Premier League, he has only managed to rack up 11, that’s four less in almost three seasons than he got in his last good season.

The big problem with patience is how do you determine which players are shown patience and which shown the door, and how long do you stand by a player for. In the case of Pereira surely seven appearances, with four from the bench, aren’t enough to judge him on.

Don’t forget that even Paul Pogba, a man hailed by many United fans as a superstar, made the same mistake earlier in the season when trying a pirouette on the edge of the box only for Wolves to score after he was dispossessed. Players make mistakes, it’s a natural part of the learning process and you can be sure Pogba or Pereira won’t be trying any fancy moves near the box again, part of the learning process is making mistakes and knowing what not to do in a situation.

Pereira is still young and has time to adjust, but the fans need to show patience and have faith in him, he might just surprise you.

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