Manchester United have a great reputation throughout Europe of bringing young talent thought their ranks and giving them a chance in the first-team squad. From the almighty "Class of '92" all the way through to last season, where the likes of James Wilson, Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair got a chance to rub shoulder with the big boys.
Today though, we're going to take a look at the next generation of 'Red Devils' and let you get to know them a little better.
Born in Boudevilliers, Switzerland, the youngster has dual Swiss-Portuguese nationality. A humble guy who has admitted he had to "pinch himself when he was eating in the canteen alongside Sir Alex Ferguson and a number of the first-team stars". Pereira is a Portugal Under-17 international and made two appearances for United's Under-18s in 2012/2013 as he adapted to life in English football and awaited the required paperwork to be processed.
After the two appearances the management staff decided it was time to throw him straight into the U21's side where he excelled. He has great potential and has been tipped to reach the highest heights of the beautiful game by former goal-keeping tutor Eric Steele.
Another Swiss national signed from FC Zurich in the Autumn deadline day 2013. He is usually deployed at right-back but has also been utilised as a right-winger. His physical presence is a joy to behold and for a 20-year-old young man he seems to have his head stuck firmly between his shoulders. He initially came to Manchester on a trial basis and after watching him in only one training session, Under 21's manager Warren Joyce said: "He's certainly a powerful boy.
There are a lot of things that he has got to improve on but he is strong, quick and can go past people. He's got some raw materials that we can work with." All signs point in the right direction and I for one hope to see him grow and flourish at Old Trafford over the coming years.
Joe Rothwell first linked up with United when he was only a nippy little 6-year-old and has worked his way through the ranks in impressive fashion, captaining the Under-18 side on occasion. He is a central midfielder who loves to drive forward and set up attacks. One goal during the Aegon Future Cup in Amsterdam illustrated his ability to start and finish moves and he ended up with three goals in 13 starts.
However, injury hampered his progress that season as he only made nine starts with one further appearance as a substitute. He earned himself a call-up to the England U19 squad and has since nailed down a starting place in the United U21's while some say this year Mr. Van Gaal is due to unleash him to the world.
The wonderkid that people keep talking about has just finished up with the Brazil squad at the U20 World Cup were he did himself justice with some startling displays. Tipped for absolute greatness, this boy really does have the world at his feet. Very comfortable in possession, he is also an excellent set-piece taker and had an impressive record at international level for the Belgium youth team, before changing his international allegiance to Brazil.
After impressing through the whole of last season the powers that be decided to hand him a new five-year-contract that will surely see him break the first team and beyond. This season promises to be a huge one for Pereira so watch this space!
With 14 appearances for the first team already under his belt the lightning fast striker is sure to be a big hit at the 'Theatre Of Dreams' soon enough. Wilson scored on his Under-18 debut as a schoolboy when hitting the net against Everton. Often playing ahead of his age group, he was called up to England Schoolboys when still performing at Under-15 level, the silky striker was scouted by United when only seven years old.By becoming a regular for England Under-19s, it seemed obvious that his talents are being appreciated further afield and he took to the UEFA Youth League like a duck to water, keeping up his fine scoring run and captaining Nicky Butt's team.
The first-team involvement was just reward for an incredible campaign, illuminated by a series of wonder strikes including a solo effort in the FA Youth Cup at Burnley, and also a hat-trick in the Under-21 win at Wolves' Molineux. If he can shake off any injury niggles, a bright future beckons for the boy from Biddulph.
There is certainly no doubt about whether United are still producing top youth players but the question is:
If they're spending £100m-plus a year on ready-made quality, where do these incredibly talented young men fit in Louis Van Gaal's masterplan?
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