With all the fanfaronade surrounding Manchester United’s superstar signings, one dynamic young midfielder has made his way into the first team squad in an almost clandestine manner.
From attending dinner parties with Angel di Maria and Juan Mata at the Lowry to going on a late evening saunter with Marcos Rojo, United’s 18-year-old U21 star is rubbing shoulders with some of the best players in the world at the moment.
Full Name: Andreas Hoelgebaum Pereira
D.O.B: 1st January 1996.
Andreas is the son of a former Brazilian footballer Marcos Pereira, who played for several clubs including Manchester United’s feeder club Royal Antwerp in the Belgian Pro League.
Andreas was born in the city of Duffel in Belgium. He began his youth career at Belgian side Lommel United before moving across the border to the Netherlands joining PSV Eindhoven aged just 9.
The Dutch side who are known for their superlative nurturing of football prodigies, became the perfect setting for him to hone his skills. In 2011, after impressing several clubs in the Manchester United Premier Cup, Andreas made himself one of the most sought after youngsters in Europe.
Former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson personally convinced the player to join the Old Trafford outfit, beating the likes of Barcelona, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea.
After several weeks of international clearance and visa issues, Andreas made his U18 bow for United against Sheffield Wednesday on 25th April 2012. But unfortunately, the match was abandoned after just 35 mins due to heavy rain.
Pereira became an U18 regular in the 2012/13 season making 20 appearances and scoring 5 goals. Shortly after his 17th birthday, he was handed his first professional contract and was made captain of the Manchester United side to play in the 2013 Milk Cup.
Andreas was named player of the tournament after scoring three goals and helping United to win the Premier Section.
After some consistent displays for both the U18s and U21s, new manager Louis Van Gaal included Pereira in United’s first team squad for the 2014/15 season. Shortly after that, he made his first team debut in the 4-0 defeat against MK Dons in the Capital One Cup, coming on for Saidy Janko at half-time.
Strength: He describes himself as a ‘real No.10′, helping those around him and scoring goals. Pereira has a fierce shot in him, evident from the two screamers he scored against Burnley and Liverpool.
He has outstanding technical ability for a player of his age. Creating chances, spraying passes all over the pitch, Andreas drops deep from time to time much like Wayne Rooney.
Another admirable thing about him is that he never settles for a simple pass. Even when surrounded by two or three defenders, he always looks for that killer through ball that could free up space and begin a blisteringly fast attack. He has that uncanny nack of producing something out of nothing.
He is also known for his excellent set-pieces. If there’s a free-kick awarded on the edge of the box, chances are that he will quite elegantly curl it into the top corner.
Weakness: Inconsistency in large parts of a game Pereira is the kind of player who can produce a single moment of breathtaking brilliance and yet, be invisible for the rest of the game. This is one aspect of his game he needs to work on.
As far as his international alliance is concerned, Andreas has already rejected Waffles in favour of Coxinhas. The 18-year old is eligible to play for both Belgium and Brazil. After representing Belgium in several youth levels, he has made it clear that ‘his heart is Brazilian’ and wants to represent the country of his parents in the future.
Like Sir Matt Busby said, “If they’re good enough, they’re old enough.”