Manchester United are a club steeped in tradition, with a number of key principles at the forefront of their footballing philosophy. Along with producing exciting, entertaining football, the club has always been famed for giving youth a chance - from the Busby babes in the 1950s to the all-conquering class of '92. But who is next to step off the Old Trafford production line?
18-year-old Belgium youth international, Andreas Pereira has been making waves in the club's academy, finding himself fighting for a regular place in the U-21's alongside players four years his senior.
The fact that Pereira has been subject to a reported tug of war between Brazil and Belgium for the rights to his international future go some way to demonstrate the kind of talent we are analysing.
Since signing for Manchester United from PSV Eindhoven in 2012, Pereira has gone from strength to strength having captained the 2013 Milk cup winning team and being voted player of the tournament. He was also one of stand out performers for United in the disappointing UEFA youth cup campaign, contributing a goal and an assist in six appearances.
Pereira is a midfielder with an eye for a killer pass and that uncanny, elusive ability to nick the ball away from an opponent at the last second. He is also a set-piece specialist and confident from the penalty spot. Pereira has been deployed in a number of different positions for United's under-21's and academy teams which will no doubt facilitate his development and holistic understanding of the game.
However, his future appears to lie in the centre of midfield or just behind the forward in the 'number 10' role. It is in these positions, Pereira looks most comfortable and is able to dictate the game with a cultural style of play that is easy on the eye.
Andreas Pereira will hope to follow in the footsteps of Adnan Januzaj, who has been rewarded for his academy and U21 form with a first-team place. With Manchester United out of domestic cup competitions, Pereira may find senior football hard to come by this season and a loan move may be the next step in his footballing education.
However, United are clearly lacking quality in central midfield which may open the door for Pereira sooner than may be expected. Perhaps David Moyes will stick to the traditions of Manchester United by following in the footsteps of Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson, by giving this precociously talented young footballer an opportunity to shine in the not too distant future.
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