The Manchester United youth scene is looking very promising at the moment after United’s U21s won the 2014-15 Barclays Under 21 Premier League title. Academy products Sam Johnstone, Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett, all aged 22 or under, have broken into the first-team over the past 12 months.
In addition to that, talented 20-year-old’s Luke Shaw and Adnan Januzaj (now on loan at Borussia Dortmund) as well as 21-year-old summer signing Memphis Depay have all been given the chance to prove their worth and cement their place in the starting lineup.
This article presents three more talented United youngsters who will certainly have aspirations of playing first-team football at Old Trafford this season and who all have the potential to succeed in the long run.
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ANDREAS PEREIRA (Age: 19)
Andreas Pereira is another one of the young guns who has already experienced some first-team action in the past year and big things are expected of him. Having joined United in November 2011 and worked his way through the youth ranks, Pereira is widely considered to be the most talented of all the Academy players currently trying to break into the first-team at Old Trafford.
He spent the vast majority of last season playing for United’s Under-21 side and was named as their 2014-15 Player of the Year in a title-winning campaign.
Having made his senior debut against Tottenham towards the back end of last season, Pereira trained with the senior squad throughout the entire summer and even scored his first senior goal against San Jose Earthquakes during United’s pre-season tour of America. The Belgian-born Brazilian starlet is a classy attacking midfielder who has fantastic technical ability, trickery and vision.
Before Tuesday’s transfer deadline he had been linked with a loan move to PSV, but he has been tipped by his current teammates to achieve big things at Old Trafford. Van Gaal has challenged Pereira to become more consistent but also expressed his belief that should he do so, the extremely talented youngster is more than capable of becoming a United regular.
JESSE LINGARD (Age: 22)
Jesse Lingard started in Louis van Gaal’s first-ever Premier League game in charge of Man United at the beginning of last season following some fantastic performances in the International Champions Cup on United’s 2014-15 pre-season tour. Since then, he had a loan spell at Derby County where he gained valuable first-team experience and he came off the bench to score the winner for England in a group game against Sweden at the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championships earlier this summer.
Lingard’s best quality is his vision which means that he excels in an attacking midfield role. He’s quick across the ground and he can he pick out a pass but he is yet another technically gifted youngster who has an admirable work ethic. The Englishman has been one of the best players at Reserves and Under-21 level in the past few years and it’s his overriding ambition to break into Van Gaal’s plans and succeed at Old Trafford. There’s no doubt that Lingard has been thought of as a special talent for some considerable time now and he looks set to have a bigger role within the United squad this season.
JOEL CASTRO PEREIRA (Age: 19)
Joel Castro Pereira was called up to the Portuguese Under-21 team for the first time this week and it comes as no surprise to anyone who’s seen him in action. Having joined United in 2012, Pereira has adapted well to life in England and his English is now very good. The 19-year-old’s best attribute is probably his impressive shot-stopping ability but aside from that he has a strong mentality, a real competitive edge to his game and some undeniable leadership qualities.
Pereira started in goal as United’s Under-21s began the defence of their Premier League title with a 1-1 draw at Leicester City last month and he’s become an integral part of that side. He needs to continue his development with the U21s, put in consistently good performances with them and at that stage he can hope to play for United’s senior team.
With major uncertainties regarding Spanish duo David de Gea and Victor Valdes, first-team opportunities could present themselves for Pereira as early as this season, but they will definitely arise for him over the coming years.