Manchester United’s problems in midfield have been well documented as far back as this current decade started. However, strength in other areas and the sheer brilliance of Sir Alex Ferguson kept United challenging and winning silverware year in, year out.
But now a mere mortal is at the helm, the need for first-team quality players to strengthen an already weak area is imperative. So whilst we may not see any of these midfield youngsters for a while, here are three Manchester United academy starlets who could light up Old Trafford in the not too distant future..
A Belgian-born footballer with Brazilian roots - it would be pretty much impossible for him not to make it, wouldn’t you think?
The youngster signed from PSV Eindhoven in 2011 and came with a glowing reference as one of the best players of his age group. While admittedly Pereira’s progress has been slower than expected, his quality is clear for all to see.
Operating in a deep-lying midfield position or further forward as a number 10, the youngster can glide past opponents, pick a pass at the right moment and also let crack with the odd thunderbolt (see long strikes against Burnley and West Ham).
Pereira’s stock rose further when he captained the 2013 Milk Cup-winning team and was voted Player of the Tournament, helping himself to three goals en route to the final. Tipped to be the next academy graduate, it will be a more a case of when and not if Pereira will be the next Belgian to make the step up to the first-team.
The Paul Scholes comparison is one banded around regularly at Old Trafford for any British midfield Manchester United graduate. Tom Cleverley and Darron Gibson were unfairly given the title and Pearson has already had these comparison banded about - but with good reason.
Possessing a low centre of gravity and fantastic dribbling ability, Pearson has the ability to travel with the ball box-to-box. And whilst his passing could do with some work, the ability to know when to hold onto the ball and play a pass separates Pearson and other English midfielders of the same age.
Pearson’s defensive capabilities are also a strong aspect to his game, with the player an ability to snuff out danger and go in for tackles with players twice his size. His quality hasn’t gone unnoticed, with call-ups to the England U18 and U19 squads.
Goss - a tall, elegant central-midfielder - was signed from the Exeter academy and has gone onto cement his place as a regular in the United youth sides. The 18-year-old is an authoritative figure in the midfield who can take the ball from the defence and distribute beautifully as well as dictate the play of a match to his liking. He is not too dissimilar to a certain Michael Carrick, but certainly more mobile.
Most tellingly, Goss has struck quite a partnership with Pearson, with the latter able to make those driving runs from deep whilst the former more often sits deep and covers for his partner, ready to sniff out any danger from an opposition counter-attack.
Not afraid of getting forward, a sublime strike against Everton showcased what Goss has to offer when he does venture forward.
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