Manchester United have seen a lot of youth prospects come and go. Only a few make it in the first-team. And, of those, some barely impress.
Jesse Lingard is one such player and another, Andreas Pereira, could well be on borrowed time at Old Trafford.
While United’s next generation have excelled under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Pereira has flattered to deceive. He is no longer a ‘young’ player with time on his side. At 24, he should be reaching his peak. Instead the midfielder looks like a weak link whenever he gets the ball.
Pereira’s delivery is good. But he does not utilise his talent effectively and he looks lightweight in a Premier League midfield. What Bruno Fernandes did in a few short weeks at United, his Brazilian teammate can only dream of.
With football on hiatus, Pereira may be looking back to his one great moment in a United shirt and wondering what might have been. Time and again fans were told to be patient with the play-maker. Then came a match against Southampton and that patience was finally (temporarily) rewarded.
It was 14 months ago when Pereira’s humdinger of a goal and a fine assist helped United to a 3-2 victory over the Saints. It seemed to be a coming of age, but now it was as good as it got.
United have far better players than Pereira. In fact, fans might argue that the likes of Angel Gomes should have been given some of the chances afforded the older man.
When football does finally return, Pereira may be playing for his United future. If, as some expect, it is too late for that, at least he has one glorious afternoon at Old Trafford when everything went right.