Here at The Peoples Person, we’ve been singing the praises of Ben Pearson for some time now.
The 19-year-old’s tenacious style of play is so endearing to watch as a fan. When on the ball, Pearson prefers the simple pass and enjoys helping mould attacks. When Pearson doesn’t have the ball, he reacts like a puppy who has just had his favourite toy rudely snatched from his jaws and chases it down with relentless energy.
He adds so much
So, it comes as no surprise to hear who Reece James singled out as the most competitive player in training when questioned by ManUtd.com and his turn of phrase is strikingly apt:
“Ben Pearson. He is just like a dog. He never stops.”
Pearson was linked with a loan move to Preston North End before the emergency transfer deadline for the Football League’s closed this week but it never came to fruition, which is a shame because he is certainly ready for a loan spell.
When Roy Keane was in his pomp, he commanded the midfield. It was his battleground. If a player tried to get past him, he’d do everything in his power to stop him and would put his body on the line. He added bite into midfield, players were fearful of squaring up to him.
Pearson carries that same mentality. He is not afraid of getting stuck into any tackle. He doesn’t shy away from squaring up to any player and, more often than not, he comes out on top because as well as being ruthlessly persistent, Pearson carries a shrewd intelligence for someone who is 19. He knows when to lunge, when to hold back and when to bomb forward.
“Ben’s been outstanding,” Academy coach Paul McGuinness said of Pearson back when he made the move up to the U21s.
“He’s an outstanding passer of the ball, a combination player and a good playmaker and link player in midfield. We’d like him to get forward and make more forward runs but sometimes the personnel we had meant he had to play in more of a holding role. But he’s also got the ability to snuff out danger and he’s very quick over 10-15 yards.
“We worked a lot on interceptions and the fact we worked on it did suit him. Some of the training is aimed at certain players and we want them to do well. He was one of the midfielders we aimed it at and he lapped it all up.
“He understood it all and got in the right positions. That’s rewarding for a coach to see someone putting into practice all the things we’re trying to do.”
Pearson has been rewarded for his progress at United with call-ups to the England U20s squad as well so his work has not gone unnoticed.
It’s early doors in Pearson’s career at the moment but there is no other midfielder like him in United’s lower ranks and one who regular followers of the U21s are excited to hopefully see brought through into the first-team in the goodness of time.